After coaching at UMBC for a school-record 34 years, head baseball coach John Jancuska has resigned, UMBC Director of Athletics Dr. Charles Brown announced today.
Jancuska amassed a UMBC-best 673 career victories, led Retriever teams to five NCAA Tournament appearances and was named Coach of the Year in all four of UMBC’s conferences at the NCAA Division I level. He was inducted into the UMBC Athletics’ Hall of Fame in 2010. Over the course of Jancuska’s tenure, he produced 19 seasons with 20-plus victories, in addition to 39 All-Region players, five All-Americans, four Academic All-Americans and 21 professional baseball players.
“For a 23-year old to get the opportunity to achieve his dream of being a head baseball coach, it was an incredible blessing,” Jancuska said. “And to be able to watch it grow, not only the athletic program, but the university has been a tremendous gift.
“I am very thankful and it has been so rewarding to educate young men through baseball for so long. We have had a lot of success and to have done it in a way where we stayed true to the mission of the student-athlete concept with the highest level of sportsmanship and integrity- never getting away from the importance of that is a good thing.”
Jancuska, who resigned from the position for personal reasons, will remain with the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation in 2011-12, teaching courses in the physical education program.
“John has been the face of the program for 34 years,” Dr. Brown said. “He achieved great success on the playing field and produced hundreds of fine young men who have benefitted tremendously from John’s positive influence. He has run the program with professionalism and integrity. His positive impact on our department is very much appreciated.
Jancuska came to UMBC in 1978, hired at the age of 23 to lead the fledgling program. In his first season as head coach, he turned the program into a Division II power, leading the Retrievers to an NCAA regional appearance. His 1979 squad also went to the NCAA Tournament, as did his final Division II squad in 1986.
After joining the Division I ranks in 1987, Jancuska directed UMBC to the NCAA Tournament on two occasions. In 1992, he guided UMBC to a 37-13 mark and its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament. Then, in 2000, he led the Retrievers to their first regular-season title in the Northeast Conference, and a year later, UMBC made its second trip to the NCAA Tournament after winning the 2001 Northeast Conference championship.
Jancuska was named the 1992 East Coast Conference Coach of the Year, the 1993 Big South Conference Coach of the Year and the 2000 Northeast Conference Coach of the Year. He led UMBC to a 21-win campaign in 2008 and earned America East Conference Coach of the Year honors.
The state of Maryland also named Jancuska its Coach of the Year in 1993 and inducted him into the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2000.
Two of Jancuska’s former players, Jay Witasick and Wayne Franklin, played in Major League Baseball. Witasick played 12 seasons for eight different teams, including appearances in the World Series with the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants in 2001 and 2002, respectively. Franklin pitched seven seasons for five different teams.
Jancuska’s final ledger at UMBC was 673-719-6. Kathy Zerrlaut, UMBC’s current senior associate athletic director, amassed 435 victories in 41 seasons coaching the Retrievers’ women’s lacrosse (1973-96) and volleyball (1973-89) squads.
Jancuska was a two-year starter and co-captain of his 1975 senior squad as a baseball player at the University of Delaware.
An announcement of Jancuska’s successor is expected shortly.