Baseball Announces 2018 Schedule
The University at Albany baseball team has announced its slate of games for the upcoming 2018 season. The schedule includes 53 regular season games, including eight America East series and 18 home games. Continued.....
Jon Mueller enters his 19th season as the head coach of the University at Albany baseball program in 2018. The Stillwater, N.Y. native has had proven success as both a player and coach throughout his career. Mueller ranks first among UAlbany’s career leaders with 377 coaching victories, and was named the America East Coach of the Year in 2004. He also led the Danes to the program’s first America East Conference tournament championship title and NCAA appearance in 2007. Mueller has produced dozens of all-conference standouts and has had six players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft under his direction.
Not only is Mueller well respected in the UAlbany campus community, but also throughout the region, as he was inducted into the Capital District Baseball Hall of Fame in the fall of 2012, as well as the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame and Stillwater High School Hall of Fame in the fall of 2008. UAlbany placed third in the America East tournament, the team’s highest finish since 2011.
The 2017 season saw the Great Danes earn 26 wins, the most since 2009, the third most in the program’s Division I era, and the second most overall among America East teams that season. In conference, UAlbany went 10-13 to finish the regular season in fourth place, the team’s best record and highest finish since 2013. Additionally, the Great Danes comiled their highest winning percentage, .500, since 2007, and were one of 18 teams out of 46 in the region to finish .500 or better. During the season, UAlbany players earned a total of four America East weekly awards. Following the regular season, UAlbany had seven players receive at totol of eight All-Conference awards, including First Team, Second Team, All-Rookie, and All-Academic.
Associate Head Coach
Jeff Kaier enters his seventh year as an assistant coach for the UAlbany baseball team in 2018, and his first as associate head coach. He works with position players along with practice management, scheduling, and academic support. Kaier also facilitates summer and winter camps, manages summer ball placement, and is the team’s third base coach on game day.
Kaier was promoted to Associate Head Coach in November, 2017. Working with the position players in 2017, Kaier’s efforts resulted in an increase in slugging percentage from .344 in 2016 to .372 in 2017. Home runs increased from 11 to 32, the most the team has hit in a single season since 2010. UAlbany earned one First Team All-Conference selection, Connor Powers, two Second Team selections, Travis Collins and Kevin Donati, and one All-Rookie selection, Marc Wangenstein. The team recorded its highest GPA in history in the 2016 fall semester, cumulatively 3.25.
In October, 2016, Kaier was promoted to first assistant and recruiting coordinator.
Paul Panik comes to UAlbany from Iona College. In his only season with the Gaels, Panik helped push the program to the MAAC Championship Final after reaching the tournament for the first time since 2000. The team recorded four wins, before falling to Marist in the Championship game. The team won 25 games in the 2017 season, up from 11 the season before. The Gaels soared to new heights, not only as a team but offensively. The team Batting Average was raised 17 points, Slugging Percentage by 24, while the team OBP increased 38 points. Walks increased by 30%, while strikeouts were down half a strike out per game. Overall Offensive production was increased by 25%, scoring an average of 1.2 more runs per game.
Before his stop in New Rochelle, Panik was back at his alma mater, Canisius, for two years as an assistant coach from 2015-2016. In 2015, he helped guide the Griffs to a MAAC Championship and a birth into the NCAA Tournament. Panik was also an assistant coach at Niagara University in 2014, and spent the 2013 season on staff at Butler University.
As a player, Panik was the starting catcher for the Golden Griffs from his sophomore through senior seasons. He won two regular season titles, and made the MAAC playoffs all four seasons. His .987 fielding percentage ranks ninth in Canisius history, and scored five runs in a game twice, tying a program-record. In his senior season, the Dutchess County, NY native hit .278, with five home runs, 22 runs scored and 33 RBI in 38 games.
Director of Operations
Dave Ames spent his past two years as pitching coach with the Hudson Valley CC Vikings. In 2016, he helped lead them to a ranking as high as 11th in the nation among DIII NJCAA schools. That season, Ames led a staff that combined for 25 wins, HVCC was 5th in the nation among DIII Junior Colleges in opponent’s batting average (.231) and 11th in the nation with a 3.69 team ERA. In 2017, Ames contributed to the Vikings 26 wins, the most for the school since 2011. The Vikings made their deepest run into regionals since 2008, eventually losing in the regional final to Niagara CC, the runner-up in the DIII World Series. In his time at HVCC, Ames coached twelve players that were named to the Mountain Valley All-Region Team.
Ames was the varsity head coach the three seasons prior with the Ichabod Crane Riders in Valatie, NY. In 2015, he led them to their first sectional appearance since 2011. He coached eight All-Colonial Council players during his short stint with the Riders.
During the summer months, Ames was an assistant with the Saugerties Stallions of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League in 2015 before taking over the reigns as head coach in 2016. While with the Stallions he coached two MLB draft picks and four more players that went on to sign professional contracts.