Bulls act fast hire Mohr as new baseball coach

Staff Reports, Special to Running the Bulls
Running the Bulls

Mohl Named Head Coach of USF Baseball Former standout pitcher at Tulane has more than 10 years of coaching experience

TAMPA, JUNE 30, 2017 – USF Director of Athletics Mark Harlan announced today the appointment of Billy Mohl as the seventh head coach in USF baseball history.

Mohl has served as USF’s pitching coach for the last three seasons, helping the Bulls make two NCAA Regional appearances and developing the pitching staff into one of the nation’s elite units. Mohl has coached 11 pitchers that have been selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft since 2014. In his three years with the Bulls, seven USF pitchers have been drafted and USF set program records for strikeouts while amassing more than 500 in each season. USF led the nation in strikeouts per nine innings in the 2017 season while ranking in the top 10 nationally in ERA.

“We are very excited to be able to continue the tremendous momentum of our baseball program with Billy Mohl as our head coach,” USF Director of Athletics Mark Harlan said. “As I spoke to baseball people across the country, the respect for Coach Mohl as a coach and a person was profound. He has a tremendous track record of recruiting and developing high caliber student-athletes, did a tremendous job with our pitching staff over the past three seasons and is more than ready to lead our program. We are happy he, his wife, Krista, and their family, will be staying in Tampa and remain a vital part of the Bulls family.”

A highly successful pitcher at Tulane, Mohl helped lead the Green Wave to the 2005 College World Series. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach for three seasons with his alma mater (2007-09) before joining head coach Mark Kingston as an assistant coach at Illinois State for five years (2010-14). Mohl came with Kingston to USF in 2015.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be given the task of leading this program,” Mohl said. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity Mark Harlan, President Genshaft and this entire university has given me. USF will always have a special place in my heart. The support from the campus has been great for both me and my family since I arrived, and I look forward to making this community proud by leading a successful baseball program.”

In 2017, Mohl's third season as the architect of the pitching staff, the arms posted one of the best seasons in program history. The pitching success was a main component of a 42-19 season and helped launch the Bulls to a Top 25 ranking and their second NCAA Regional appearance in three seasons. The staff posted a program record 620 strikeouts and led the nation with 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. The arms finished 10th in the country with a 3.24 ERA and 11th with 7.64 hits allowed per nine innings.

Mohl engineered the development of redshirt-freshman Shane McClanahan, who earned freshman All-American honors, as well as All-American Athletic Conference second team selections Phoenix Sanders and Peter Strzelecki, who finished second in The American with a 2.42 ERA. Of the four Bulls that were drafted in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, three were pitchers. Sanders was taken in the 10th round, Joe Cavallaro in the 24th round and Ryan Valdes in the 33rd round.

“Many thanks go to Mark Kingston,” Mohl said. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of everything he has done for me throughout our time together. I’m excited to continue to build on the foundation and successes he has laid here. The players in this program are the most important thing to me. I am proud to be their coach, mentoring and leading them both on and off the field as players and men.”

In 2015, Mohl helped the Bulls reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002 in his first season on the staff. His pitching staff led the American Athletic Conference with 513 strikeouts, the most for the program in 20 years. Mohl guided pitcher Jimmy Herget to a 10-win season and selection in the sixth round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Mohl also helped Tommy Peterson post a 4-1 mark with a 1.93 ERA and 16 saves and eventual selection in the 12th round of the MLB Amateur Draft. Pitcher Casey Mulholland was also picked in the 37th round that season.

In 2016, Mohl's staff posted 517 strikeouts, the second highest total in program history. The team's 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings led The American and were the ninth-best mark in the country. Mohl was instrumental in guiding closer Tommy Eveld to a team-high nine saves, and a bullpen best 2.21 ERA and .189 opponent's batting average. Eveld was selected in the ninth round of the MLB Amateur Draft and was joined by pitcher Brandon Lawson who was drafted in the 12th round.

During Mohls’ five seasons at Illinois State, the Redbirds posted a 4.02 ERA and struck out 2,019 batters while walking just 1,053 over 2,390.1 innings. In the five years prior to Mohl's arrival, Illinois State's pitching staff had an ERA of 5.50 with 1,512 strikeouts and 929 walks in 2,222 innings.

Fifteen Redbird pitchers received All-Missouri Valley Conference honors including the weekend rotation and closer for the 2014 squad. Jeremy Rhoades (4th round), Brock Stewart (6th round), Dylan Craig (12th round) and Dan Savas (19th round) were taken in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft while Joe Claver signed a free agent deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Those five pitchers along with the rest of the Illinois State pitching staff led the country in strikeouts per nine innings with 9.4.

Prior to arriving in Normal, Mohl spent three seasons at Tulane helping the Green Wave to 107 wins over that period. He spent time with the Green Wave outfielders, hitters and pitchers while coaching first base and serving as the camp director for the Rick Jones Tulane Baseball Camp.

During his standout playing career at Tulane, Mohl set the school single-season and career record for fewest walks-per-nine-inning average with marks of 1.27 (in 2003) and 1.67, respectively. The right-hander went 9-0 as a senior, becoming just the second regular starter in Tulane history to go undefeated.

Mohl was a part of Tulane's 2005 College World Series team that earned the No. 1 national seed in the tournament. Mohl also competed with the Falmouth Commodores in the Cape Cod League during the summer earning an All-Star invite after leading the team with a 1.62 ERA in 39 innings of action.

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