BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Jim Weaver, along with Associate Athletic Director Jon Jaudon, announced at a press conference Thursday in the Schott Media Center the appointment of Patrick Mason as the new head baseball coach of the Hokies.
Mason, who will enter his 17th season in the coaching profession, becomes the 24th head baseball coach at the school, but just the fifth in the last 66 years of the program. Mason takes over the head coaching reigns after spending the previous three years at Tech - including last year as the associate head coach - under former coach Pete Hughes.
“We are proud to have this press conference today here in Blacksburg and we are very excited about the future leadership of our baseball program under Pat Mason,” Weaver said. “Pat Mason, in my opinion, is the consummate baseball man and I am very pleased to introduce Pat as our new head baseball coach.”
“I am extremely excited to continue to uphold the standard of excellence that Coach Hughes and Coach (Chuck) Hartman have set before me,” Mason said. “After being an assistant coach for 14 years I am ready for the challenge ahead of me as head coach. You can expect that we that we will continue to compete at the highest level and continue to chase the ultimate goal, Omaha. I can say with full confidence, that with the current talent we have in our program combined with the commitments we have in our future classes, the future of Virginia Tech Baseball has never been brighter.”
In just three seasons with Tech, Mason has seen 10 of his Hokie pitchers sign pro pitching contracts, including six off this past season’s roster. He has also guided the staff to register three straight seasons with an ERA lower than the previous year.
In those three consecutive seasons, the Tech pitching staff has posted an ERA no higher than 4.57, which hasn’t happened since an 18-season streak that ended in 1980. The last time a Tech squad posted back-to-back seasons with an ERA of 4.20 or lower was the 1976-1977 teams, something the 2012-2013 teams just did.
“Pat Mason is the right person for Virginia Tech,” Jaudon said. “He is one of the architects of our baseball model that has transitioned this program onto the national scene. He is a relationship builder and an outstanding communicator that translates into a tremendous recruiter and leader. Baseball is in good hands.”
“I believe hiring Pat Mason as the next head coach is the absolute best move for this program at this time,” Hughes said. “I applaud the administration for appreciating the importance of continuity and rewarding loyalty. Pat is an outstanding person and coach. He truly knows and lives the Hokie Way. He has earned the privilege to improve upon the success in which the program has been built. I wish him nothing but the best!”
The former Northeastern catcher (1994-97) spent the previous five seasons before coming to Tech as an assistant at Northeastern (2005-10) and was also an assistant at Boston College (1998-2002).
Below is what Virginia Tech players (former and current) are saying about Mason taking over as the Hokies next head baseball coach.
Joe Mantiply, current Detroit Tiger minor league pitcher
“When I found out, I told both Coach Hughes and Coach Mason I was really happy for both of them. Coach Mason getting the job is well deserved. I’m glad that Virginia Tech is sticking with the tradition that we already have going and they didn’t go outside to find a new coach. Pat has worked really hard for this opportunity and deserves it.”
Chad Pinder, current Oakland Athletics minor league player
“First off, congratulations to Coach Hughes and his move to Oklahoma, I feel very privileged in being apart of his program and Virginia Tech. But I have 100 percent confidence in Coach Mason in taking over the program and it’s well deserved. He’s going to do an amazing job there. He’s done a great job with developing our players both on and off the field, he is a great person and I wish him all the best. I know he’ll do a wonderful job.”
Ronnie Shaban, current St. Louis Cardinal minor league pitcher
“I think that Coach Mason is a great hire. Over the last three years he has been in Blacksburg, he has definitely shown that he’s a great asset for our program, especially from the pitching side of things and as a recruiter – in that role he has thrived. He is a great leader and I think this is a great opportunity for him and the program and I know that he will be very successful in that position.”
Tanner McIntyre, a rising senior at Tech
“I’ve enjoyed Coach Mason as a coach for the past two seasons. I don’t feel like anything is going to change with him taking over. As a team, we’re still going to have the mentality and the same goals and I think he’s going to do a great job. It’s actually fortunate for us that he’s staying, because now we won’t have to worry about a new head coach and any changes that he might make. We’ve all played for Coach Mason and are comfortable with his style and we have an idea of how he’s going to run the program.”
Alex Perez, a rising junior at Tech
“I was glad to hear that Coach Mason got the job, I think he’s a great coach, he knows our system and he’s a good man, so I really like the move. I think he’s probably going to run the program the same way we’ve been running it – high energy – I’m not sure about the offense, but defensively and pitching, he’ll just keep us playing hard and looking to build on what we have been doing here.”
Mark Zagunis, rising junior at Tech
“I think Coach Mason has done a great job here as a recruiter bringing in quality guys and has done a great job as our pitching coach as well. I think he will definitely keep the winning tradition that we’ve started under Coach Hughes moving forward. He’s been great and he’s almost been like another head coach for us the past few years, so the transition is going to be a smooth one.”
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).