Szefc completes his staff as Elbin joins the Hokies

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech head baseball coach John Szefc has completed his staff as former VCU assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Kurt Elbin has officially accepted a position with the Hokies and will assume the same role within the Tech program.

Elbin has worked the last five seasons at VCU and helped head coach Shawn Stiffler and the Rams to four straight 35-plus win seasons, one conference regular season title, one conference tournament title and an NCAA Regional title in 2015 as the team advanced to the Super Regionals for the first time in school history.

“We were fortunate to have Kurt accept the position here, coming over from VCU,” Szefc said. “He’s done a great job over the last five years working with Shawn Stiffler. The success that they’ve had at VCU on the national level is tremendous.

“He’s very good at developing young position players and he absolutely knows the state of Virginia when it comes to recruiting. For those reasons, and many others, he is a very good fit here as we build this program here in Blacksburg.”

Under Elbin’s tutelage this past season, the Rams’ offense led the Atlantic 10 Conference in both batting average (.290, 60th in the nation) and on-base percentage (.384, 43rd) and was 14th in the country, first in the league, with 85 hit batsmen. It was the third time in the past four seasons the team has finished in the top 100 in batting average, including 36th in 2014.

The top two hitters in the A-10 at the end of 2017 were products of Elbin, with senior Logan Farrar at the top with a .365 average that helped him earn the A-10 Player of the Year award, the first ever for the program. He added an A-10 First Team All-Conference honor, an ABCA/Rawlings Division I East All-Region First Team selection and an ABCA/Rawlings Third Team All-America accolade to his resume. He was also picked by the Oakland Athletics in this year’s MLB Draft.

The second-leading hitter in the conference at the end of the season was freshman Paul Witt, a second baseman who hit .374 during the regular season (.361 overall), which helped earn him the A-10 batting crown and the A-10’s Rookie of the Year honor. He added an A-10 Second Team All-Conference selection and a Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Freshman All-American honor.

In all, Elbin worked with four guys this past season that earned All-Conference honors and during his time at VCU had three players get drafted, including Vimael Machin, at number 239 in 2015, the school’s highest selection in the past 11 drafts.

“First, I’d like to thank Mr. (Whit) Babcock, the Virginia Tech administration and Coach Szefc for giving me this opportunity to not only join the baseball program but the family here in Blacksburg and Virginia Tech,” Elbin said. “This is obviously a special place and I am excited to get started and to move forward with the baseball program and work in the ACC.”

During the Rams’ 2015 run towards the program’s first Super Regional appearance, the Black and Gold ranked first in the conference in base on balls (223), hit by pitch (114, also led nation), hits (622), sacrifice bunts (53), sacrifice flies (31), and third in runs (364).

Nationally, the Rams finished in the top 100 in walks, batting average and on-base percentage. The team ranked among the top 50 in fielding percentage, hits, runs, sacrifice bunts, and sacrifice flies. Defensively, the team was 34th in all of Division I and second in the conference in fielding percentage.

The 2015 club had four players receive All-Region honors (Matt Lees, Heath Dwyer, Matt Davis, Machin), five were named All-Conference (Davis, Dwyer, Machin, Farrar, Sean Thompson) one earned All-American honors (Machin), and four players received deals with professional organizations (Lees, Dwyer, Machin, and Daniel Concepcion).

In 2014, the Rams led the Atlantic-10 in runs and hits, while finishing the season among the top offenses in the nation in batting average (36), hit by pitch (25), hits (38), on-base percentage (17), runs (33), and scoring (29). In his first season with the Rams, Elbin helped guide VCU to 28 victories and saw two players, James Bunn and Joey Cujas, earn All Atlantic 10 accolades.

Prior to his time in Richmond, Virginia, Elbin spent two seasons at Division II power Shippensburg University (Pa.). During his two-year tenure at Shippensburg, Elbin helped lead the Raiders to 87 wins. Before joining the Raiders’ staff, Elbin spent three seasons at Thiel College. Under his guidance the Tomcats were a Division III powerhouse in the President’s Athletic Conference, being ranked as high as 13th nationally during his stint.

The Bedford, Pennsylvania native played collegiately at Lock Haven, where he graduated in 2006 before finishing his master's at California (Pa.) in 2008. Elbin will be joined in Blacksburg by his wife Jaclyn and their children, Alexander and Juliet.

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