Tim O’Brien returns for his eighth season and will be working with the catchers in addition to outfield and team defense for a third year after spending three years working with the pitching staff, and one season with the infielders.
This past spring, the Retrievers finished 34-20, the first time over 30 wins since 2002, and the second most wins in a single season. UMBC finished 20-3 at home, including a midweek record of 13-1. The club continued its trend of improving team defense, committing only 62 errors for the year and fielding .969 putting the club in the top 100 Fielding Teams in NCAA Division I.
“Coach O’B’s” UMBC outfielders registered nine assists and committed only seven errors in 285 chances fielding at a .977 clip. The 2016 returners include Nick Naumann and Andrew Casali (both Second Team All-Conference), Tim Kelly and Chris Convers. This group welcomes newcomer Raven Beeman. Casali also earned All-Academic status in the America East Awards Program. After a ferocious competition, Hunter Dolshun returned to catching, unable to break into the outfield corps. The “Catching Crew” includes Dolshum (Second Team All-Conference), Zach Bright and first year player Thomas Pipolo. Dolshun, after a brief stint in the outfield, has returned to catching in hopes of garnering some draft notice.
While pitching coach, the Retrievers pitchers decreased their team ERA over two runs per game. Austin Drewyer ranked second in NCAA Division I in fewest walks per nine innings while the entire staff ranked 49th. Drewyer and Mike Mitchell ranked among the country's leaders in complete games, ranking ninth and 42nd, respectively. O'Brien's work with the staff included a more rigorous fitness program and the benefits paid dividends as not a single pitcher missed time due to injury in 2011.
During his time at UMBC, O’Brien helped former UMBC standout Dan Blewett recover from Tommy John surgery to become the Retrievers’ most recent professional player. He has also coordinated the team’s support of the Baltimore Oriole Advocates’ Cardboard 2 Leather donation program and is directing the return of the team’s First Pitch Banquet.
The Niagara University alum spent time as an associate scout for the Florida Marlins and Baltimore Orioles from 1993 to 2005. O’Brien won numerous awards as head baseball coach at Long Reach High School in Columbia, Md., from 1997-2008, including Coach of the Year from The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post and Regional Coach of the Year from the American Baseball Coaches’ Association, the culmination of 28 years of coaching high school sports. While at Long Reach, he served as president of the Maryland State Baseball Coaches’ Association. He previously served as Athletic Director at The Cardinal Gibbons School in Baltimore.
This past October, he made a second presentation to the National High School Baseball Coaches Association, this time in St. Louis, Missouri. His talk on Catching Skills, earned him an invitation to present at the Minnesota State Baseball Coaches Clinic next October.
O’Brien spent the 2010 summer as pitching coach for the USA Baseball Women’s National Team and was previously the pitching coach for the Men’s Champion’s Program that earned gold medals for USA Baseball in the Pan-American Games in 2007 in Guatemala and in Puerto Rico in 2008. He served as the Site supervisor for USA Baseball’s Junior National Tournaments for 9 years in Jupiter, Florida at the Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Complexes.
O’Brien is currently a teacher at Long Reach, and lives with his wife, Mary Beth, in Columbia, Md. Both of their sons, Robbie, who is a civil engineer in Baltimore, and Kevin, who is an accounting auditor in Virginia, played collegiate baseball.