Dan McDonnell established high expectations for University of Louisville Baseball when he arrived as head coach in his first season in 2007. Lelo Prado had elevated Cardinal baseball in his eleven years as head coach, but didn't win a game in the NCAA Tournament.
Dan changed that in his first season guiding Louisville to the College World Series, unknown territory for the formerly middling Cards.
That season, 2007, was a breakout year for Louisville baseball. They went 7-4 in the post-season, and won over 40 games for the first time in school history (47), beat perennial power Oklahoma State in the Super Regional and finishing the season ranked sixth in the nation.
Now fast-forward to today and, in eleven seasons at UofL, McDonnell has failed to win 40 games one time, in 2011. Louisville went from never winning 40 games to winning 40 or more nearly every season.
McDonnell has won 50 games on four occasions including 2017 with 53 victories and a chance for more. His winning percentage is in the top five of active coaches at .717.
In three seasons in the league, Dan McDonnell has been ACC Coach of Year twice. He has four World Series appearances, and he was National Coach of the Year in 2007.
Since he arrived at Louisville the Cards are one of the top five winningest programs in the country.
Over the last nine seasons, McDonnell has eight regular-season conference championships. He has coached 32 All-Americans, 83 all-conference selections, six conference Pitchers of the Year, four conference Players of the Year and a conference Freshman of the Year.
In eleven seasons as Louisville's head coach, 55 players have signed contracts after being selected in the Major League draft.
Can I have an ‘Amen’ to the best coach in college baseball?
And then there’s Brandon McKay, the best player in college baseball. In his first two seasons at UofL he has won 30 conference and national awards including three-time John Olerud Two-Way Player of the year and repeated this season becoming the first player to win the award more than once.
In 2017, McKay has already won national Player of the Year for several publications and is the front-runner for the coveted ‘Golden Spikes’ award to the best player in college baseball.