Western Carolina Walks Off to Win 2016 SoCon Baseball Championship
Western Carolina had a flair for the dramatic en route to winning the school's league-record 10th Southern Conference Baseball Championship on Sunday afternoon at Fluor Field at the West End.Continued.....
Bobby Moranda was officially introduced as the 10th head baseball coach at Western Carolina on July 19, 2007. The former Georgia Tech associate head coach brought over 21 years of coaching experience to Cullowhee — 18 of which from schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
During his first nine years at the helm in Cullowhee, Moranda guided Western Carolina to a pair of Southern Conference regular season championships in back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014. He also led the Catamounts to the SoCon Championship game twice including the program’s league-record 10th SoCon Tournament crown in 2016, advancing to the NCAA Clemson Regional — a first for the program since 2007.
Over his first decade at the helm, the Catamounts have recorded 30-or-more victories seven times moving Moranda into second on WCU’s all-time career wins chart with 284 through 2016. His 2013 squad secured 39 victories including 16-straight Southern Conference wins, while the 2014 team posted 37 wins with 12-consecutive mid-season. Moranda eclipsed the 200-win mark in 2014 with a victory over La Salle becoming WCU’s fifth head coach to surpass 200-wins all-time.
Moranda — the 2010 Western Carolina Men’s Coach of the Year and the 2013 Southern Conference Coach of the Year — became WCU’s all-time winningest head coach in SoCon play, finishing 2016 with 146 league victories
David Garcia, a long-time junior college head coach who also has experience at the independent professional level, the Western Carolina baseball program and head coach Bobby Moranda in mid-August 2018. Garcia (pronounced GARSH-shuh) joins a storied Catamount program after making three-consecutive trips to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series as the head coach at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill. At WCU, he will work with WCU’s offense with the hitters, while also handling the Catamount catchers.
Over five seasons at Parkland, Garcia compiled a record of 214-88-2 as the head coach, guiding the Cobras to three-straight appearances in the NJCAA Division 2 World Series including a national runner-up finish in 2018. The 2017 squad finished with a 53-8 overall record, placing third nationally. Over his final two seasons, Parkland won a combined 98 games.
Garcia was two-time Mid-West Athletic Conference (MWAC) Coach of the Year selection in 2016 and 2017 and collected Region 24 Coach of the Year plaudits three-straight seasons from 2016 to 2018. He mentored five NJCAA All-America selections while at Parkland with four players taken in the MLB Draft. He also moved 47 players to NCAA Division I programs from the junior college level.
A former two-way baseball standout for the Catamounts, Taylor Sandefur returned home to Western Carolina University as an assistant coach baseball coach during mid-July of 2018. He joined the Catamount coaching staff after serving as an assistant coach at NCAA Division II-member, Erskine College in Due West, S.C., last season.
Sandefur was the top assistant for the Erskine baseball program in 2018 where he also served as the program’s recruiting coordinator and also managed the pitching staffs for both the varsity and junior varsity teams. The Flying Fleet finished the year above .500 at 26-25 that included a 22-8 home record and an 11-12 mark in the Conference Carolinas. Collectively, the pitching staff featured an ERA of 5.36 on the season, averaging 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings and finishing the year with 458 strikeouts – the second-most in school history.
Sandefur began his collegiate coaching career at mountain-rival, Appalachian State, spending two seasons as the volunteer assistant coach on staff in Boone, N.C., in 2015 and 2016 as the Mountaineers made the transition to the Sun Belt Conference. He primarily worked with the ASU catchers in the field and base running as it related to the squad’s offense. Over two seasons, the Apps compiled a .696 stolen base percentage including .804-percent in 2015.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Jeff Lavin joined the Western Carolina Catamount baseball coaching staff as the program’s Volunteer Assistant Coach in the summer of 2019. He came to Cullowhee after spending a year as the head assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at one of his alma maters, Parkland College, located in his hometown of Champaign, Ill.
A pitcher by trade, Lavin started his collegiate career under current WCU assistant coach David Garcia at Parkland. After two seasons and earning an associate’s degree in business administration and management, he transferred to the University of Indianapolis to continue his playing career. In two seasons with the Greyhounds, Lavin tossed over 25 innings in 27 relief appearances.
Lavin began his foray into coaching as an assistant at Parkland College in August 2017 before being promoted to the head assistant and recruiting coordinator title a year later. He also worked with the Cobras pitching staff under the pitching coach role. His coaching experience also includes assisting with a 15U youth baseball team in the Mizuno Baseball Club back in 2015.