Brevard selects Walsh to lead baseball program

BREVARD, N.C. – Athletic Director Juan Mascaro has announced the hiring of six-year veteran assistant coach Sean Walsh to take over the Tornados’ baseball program.


“I knew we didn’t need to look far to find the right man for the job,” Mascaro commented. “Coach Walsh has done a fantastic job as an assistant over the past six seasons. I am confident that he will help our players accomplish great things both on and off the field.”


“I’m truly humbled to be given the opportunity to be a head coach,” Walsh added. “I’m really excited for Juan to have entrusted me with this program and I can’t wait to get started.”


Walsh replaces Matt McCay, who stepped away late last week to accept a position in the private sector after six years leading the program. Walsh was a member of McCay’s staff during the former head coach’s entire Brevard tenure, helping the Tornados amass 109 wins, a third-place finish in the South Atlantic Conference standings, and two postseason appearances.


“Sean came to Brevard with me six years ago,” said McCay. “He’s seen the program grow over the years. I know it’s being left in great hands and that good things are on the way for this team. It is a great pleasure to know that everything we’ve worked hard to build here at Brevard is going to continue in the same manner with someone that I trust and care about a great deal.”


Walsh has coached the Tornados’ infielders and served as the team’s hitting coach for the past six seasons. Seven Tornados hit .300 or higher in 2016, helping the team to its best season at the plate (.302) since finishing 12th nationally with a .328 mark in Walsh’s second year with the program.


The team’s defense has also been a bright spot in recent years, with the Tornados posting a fielding percentage of .950 or higher in four of the past five campaigns.


“With my background, my strength is as a teacher,” said Walsh. “I’m confident that I know pretty much every aspect of the game. I’m comfortable working with any position. I played just about everything professionally—I even got Rickey Henderson to pop up once as a pitcher. So I think my experience all over the field is my biggest strength as a coach.”


A career .323 hitter in college, Walsh graduated from N.C. State after spending his first three years at Radford. He was named second team all-Big South in 2000 and was an all-ACC Tournament Team selection in 2001. He was taken by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 47th round of the 2001 MLB Amateur Draft and played professionally for six seasons.


Primarily a third baseman, Walsh spent his first four professional seasons in the Phillies organization. He climbed as high as AA and hit .250 with 13 home runs and 136 RBI during his minor league career. He was named Minor League Player of the Month for the entire Phillies organization in July 2003 after hitting safely in 25 of 30 games by going .323 with 10 doubles, one triple, and four home runs at Class A Clearwater.


He played with future Major Leaguers Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, and Carlos Ruiz in the Phillies organization. On July 24, 2002, Walsh made multiple diving plays at third base to help Gavin Floyd preserve a no-hitter, a game in which Floyd was actually the losing pitcher due to an unearned run on a pair of errors. After leaving affiliated baseball, Walsh spent two seasons in independent leagues, earning a pair of all-star selections and ranking second in the Golden Baseball League in 2005 with a .357 batting average.


Walsh plans to retain Avery Booker as the program’s Recruiting Coordinator. McCay will remain employed by the college until June 1 and will aid Walsh in administrative aspects of the coaching transition.


“I’ll be forever grateful to Matt for giving me the opportunity to come here as a volunteer assistant six years ago and for all he’s done to make this transition really easy,” Walsh remarked. “He’s been really supportive and I can’t thank him enough.


“My best memories of playing baseball and the years I had the most fun were during my time in college,” he continued. “I’m going to do my best to create a good college experience for our players, both on and off the field.”


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