Tim O’Brien returns for his sixth season and will be working with the outfield and team defense for a second year after spending three years working with the pitching staff, and one season with the infielders.
In 2013, UMBC posted its best record since 2009, 18-30 overall and 9-21 in conference, while making vast improvements on the defensive side. The Retrievers recorded their best fielding percentage, .960, since 2007, and committed just 72 errors, compared to 110 miscues the year prior.
“Coach O’B’s” UMBC outfielders registered 19 assists and committed only 10 errors in over 300 chances fielding at a .971 clip. The returning group includes team captain Rob McCabe, Jake Barnes, D.J. Smith and Jesse Smith. This group welcomes newcomers Nick Naumann and Andrew Casali. After a ferocious competition, Manny Colon returned to catching, unable to break into the outfield corps.
Under O'Brien's tutelage, 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. As infield coach, O’Brien’s tenure began the inclusion of Vinnie Corbi, Anthony Gatto and Jake Barnes, this year’s most experienced returners.
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. While at Long Reach, he served as president of the Maryland State Baseball Coaches’ Association.
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. During this time at UMBC, O’Brien helped former UMBC standout Dan Blewett recover from Tommy John surgery to become the Retrievers’ most recent professional player.
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.