What Alabama baseball is getting in new head coach Rob Vaughn

Rob Vaughn Announcement
Photo courtesy Alabama Athletics

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Sam Thornton

TUSCALOOSA-Roughly 24 hours after the conclusion of the Crimson Tide baseball’s restored season, the program announced a new head coach for the upcoming year. Former Maryland head baseball coach Rob Vaughn will take over head coaching duties for the Crimson Tide after spending the last 11 seasons in College Park, Maryland.

Vaughn led Maryland to back-to-back Big Ten regular season titles along with three NCAA Regional appearances the previous three seasons. Vaughn was named the Big 10 Coach of the Year the past two seasons while holding a 183-115 record in six seasons as head manager of the Terrapins.

Coming off an emotional season in Tuscaloosa where order was restored to standards of the early late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Vaughn is a perfectly molded coach to continue renewed energy within the Alabama program.

“I could not be more excited to join the Alabama Crimson Tide. The culture, the people and the program speak for themselves. Watching the team from afar, I could tell just how special it is, and I cannot wait to get started and help get this group back to Omaha,” Vaughn said in a statement.

What made Alabama interim head coach Jason Jackson so effective over the final month of the season was his enhanced connection to players in the dugout.

As a former collegiate baseball player from 2006-2009 at Kansas State University, Vaughn will be able to correlate shared experiences with the Tide roster. He’s also one of the youngest coaches to guide a power five program at 35-years old.

Jackson will remain on Alabama’s staff as the associate head coach. He’ll also retain his position with the program as the pitching coach.

“The fact that Coach Jackson will be here by my side makes me even more excited because he’s done such an incredible job and will be a big part of what we do going forward,” Vaughn said.

Alabama is getting a coach hungry for success. Vaughn built Maryland into a conference powerhouse by his fifth season in charge.

A 30 win season in 2016 was boosted to 48 wins by 2022, where Vaughn solidified himself among the nations best leaders. Maryland had only won a single NCAA tournament game in their program’s history before Vaughn took command in 2017.

Just two wins shy of a trip to the College World Series, Alabama is ready for another shot to prove themselves. The Crimson Tide will return key standouts in Andrew Pinckney, Caden Rose, and Colby Shelton to name a few barring they don’t enter the transfer portal.

Vaughn is fresh off leading Maryland to their first Big 10 tournament championship, and he’ll be looking to lead this group to Alabama’s first trip to Omaha since 1999. University of Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne saw the immediate impact Vaughn had on the Terrapins throughout the hiring process.

“The success on the field speaks for itself, but even more impactful were the conversations with those who have played for Rob,” Byrne said.

What separates Vaughn more is his distaste for mediocrity. A philosophy that he preaches, deemed “The Pack”, focuses on three pillars: toughness, approach and intensity.

With this model, Vaughn increased Maryland’s batting average throughout their lineup during his tenure. It was a learning tactic that he adopted from his own playing days at Kansas State, passed on by Vaughn’s former hitting coach Andy Sawyers.

Vaughn wasn’t a solidified hitter through his first three seasons with the Wildcats, until “The Pack” tactic was bestowed to him.

“I remember telling him, ‘Are you tired of being average?'” Sawyers said, according to The Diamondback News in Maryland. “You’ve been average your whole career and you’re being average now. You can be good. I need you to be good right now.”

Vaughn then hit close to the .300 mark his senior season, helping Kansas State qualify for their first NCAA tournament in program history and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 2009 MLB Draft.

Alabama had escaped their own mediocrity this year and will look to conquer new heights to build on, just as Vaughn has throughout his playing and coaching career. The new era of Alabama baseball has arrived led by a coach who embodies “Where Legends Are Made.”

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