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Northwestern Sets 2014 Baseball Schedule
Northwestern head coach Paul Stevens, who will be at the helm for his 27th season this spring, unveiled the competitive 2014 schedule that his Wildcats will face beginning February 14.
Paul Stevens is in his 24th season as Northwestern's head baseball coach and 27th overall in a Wildcat uniform. Already tops on Northwestern's all-time coaches wins list, Stevens reached win number 500 in stellar fashion.
After leading NU to its best-ever finish in Big Ten play (21-11) in 2006, Stevens entered the Big Ten's postseason tournament with 499 wins. Following a first-round bye and a loss to Ohio State, the second-seeded Wildcats defeated sixth-seeded Purdue 8-4, giving Stevens his illustrious 500th win. Stevens had tallied his 400th win at the beginning of the 2003 season, when the Wildcats defeated Southern Mississippi 5-1 on Feb. 22.
Along with winning No. 500, Stevens also coached in his 1,000th game during the 2006 season. In his career, he has coached 1,153 games, 452 more than George McKinnon (701), who coached from 1962-81.
In his 23-year tenure as head coach, the Wildcats enjoyed 15-straight 20-win seasons and have reached the 30-win mark on three different occasions. NU has won 20 games in 20 of those years and compiled a 244-186 home record. In 2010, NU went 8-6 at home making it eight out of the last nine seasons that it posted a .500 record or better at Rocky Miller Park in Evanston.
Stevens has tutored individuals to a total of 78 All-Big Ten honors during his time as head coach, including J.A. Happ who was a three-time first-team selection from 2002-04. Two players have been named Big Ten Freshman of the Year -- Jeremy Kurella (1998) and Eric Jokisch (2008) -- and two others have been named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year -- Chad Schroeder (1995) and Dan Brauer (2006). In 2010, a school-record four individuals -- Eric Jokisch (SP), Chris Lashmet (3B), Zach Morton (2B), Paul Snieder (RP) -- earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition.
The 2006 season was a record-setting year for Stevens and the Wildcats. With a 21-11 conference record, NU demolished the previous season high conference win total of 15. It also was the first time in school history the team earned a No. 2 seed in the postseason tournament and a first-round bye. For his efforts, Stevens was named the 2006 Big Ten Coach of the Year. The honor was the third of his career. He also was honored in 1991 and 1995.
In 1991, Stevens led his team to a 27-28-1 overall record and a 15-12-1 mark in the Big Ten. Following the team's third-place performance in the Big Ten Tournament, Stevens was honored with his first Conference Coach-of-the-Year laurel. In 1995, the Wildcats finished 36-19 overall and placed third in the Big Ten with a 15-13 mark. That year, NU had seven players on the All-Big Ten team, and Stevens received his second Big Ten Coach of the Year honor in five years.
At Northwestern, Stevens has compiled a 577-676-6 overall record and a 277-377-2 mark in Big Ten Conference games. On April 11, 1999, he became the school's all-time winningest coach when the Wildcats defeated Illinois, 9-6, for his 305th victory. Stevens supplanted George McKinnon, who went 304-391-6 as the Wildcats' skipper.
Stevens was named head coach in October of 1987 and led the Wildcats to a 28-28 record in his first season. His 1989 Wildcats compiled an outstanding 14-4-2 home record and were in the running for a Big Ten Tournament berth until the final day of the season.
A total of 59 players have been drafted or signed by a Major League club during Stevens' tenure.
Prior to taking over the head coaching duties, Stevens served as a Wildcat assistant for three seasons under former head coaches Ron Wellman (1985-86) and Larry Cochell (1987). Prior to joining the Wildcat staff, Stevens was a scout for the New York Mets. Before joining the scouting ranks, he played three years in the Kansas City Royals' organization and two seasons in the Oakland Athletics' farm system as a second baseman/shortstop. Stevens also played one season with the Athletics' Triple-A club in Ogden, Utah. In 1979, he was named to the Topps All-Minor League Team.
Coming out of college, Stevens was drafted by the Kansas City Royals following an outstanding career at Lewis University. At Lewis, he was named to the NAIA All-America squad in 1976. Stevens led Lewis to the 1975 and 1976 NAIA Championships and was named to the all-tournament squad both years. He was presented the Charlie Hustle Award at the 1975 tournament and earned a Golden Glove Award the following season. Elected to the Lewis Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, Stevens ended his career with a .346 batting average.
In 1975, following his junior season at Lewis, Stevens played for the United States in the Pan American Games in Mexico City, helping the squad to a silver medal. He also played on a U.S. team that toured the Orient that same year.
In 2001, Stevens enjoyed his second tour of duty with the National Team, this time as an assistant coach. The team was made up of collegiate all-stars who played 29 games in 40 days, compiling a 22-7 record which included a 12-game winning streak. The Red, White and Blue Tour spanned two continents, two countries and 10 different U.S. states.
Stevens is a native of Oak Lawn, Ill., graduating from Luther South High School in 1972. He played for two years under former major league great Eddie Stanky at South Alabama before transferring to Lewis.
Stevens, 56, graduated from Lewis in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in elected sciences. He and his wife, Kenan, live in Glenview with their children Trevor (20, a junior infielder/outfielder at Northwestern), Cody (19, a freshman infielder at Northwestern) and Kara (15).
Tim Stoddard, the only man in history who earned World Series and NCAA Championship rings as an athlete, is in his 18th season with the Wildcats coaching staff. He works primarily with the pitchers.
With an already impressive list of Hall of Fame inductions already under his belt -- including the College Basketball Hall of Fame -- Stoddard was honored by the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in January of 2006 and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in March of 2011. Stoddard enjoyed an unbelievable baseball career and has won a championship on every level of competitive baseball he has ever played.
As NU's pitching coach, the Wildcats have claimed two Big Ten ERA titles, the most recent in 2003. The Wildcat pitching staff had the lowest ERA in both overall and conference games. NU ended 2003 with a 3.61 conference ERA and a 3.99 overall ERA.
NU claimed its first Big Ten ERA title in 1995 with a 3.08 ERA in conference games. In addition, 12 of his pitchers have been selected in the MLB free agent draft--the most recent were George Kontos and Dan Brauer in 2006. Kontos was chosen in the fifth round by the New York Yankees and Brauer was taken in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Lefty J.A. Happ was selected in 2004 and is NU's only three-time first-team All-Big Ten recipient in school history. He was a third-round choice of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Stoddard pitched in the major leagues from 1975-88. He played with the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and New York Yankees. Working mostly in relief, Stoddard compiled a 41-35-career record with a 3.95 ERA, 582 strikeouts and 76 saves in 485 games. The right-hander played in the 1979 World Series with the Orioles and was the winning pitcher in Game 4. He also was a member of the 1983 World Champion Orioles and 1984 National League East champion Cubs.
Stoddard attended North Carolina State from 1971-75, playing baseball and basketball. He was a starting forward for the Wolfpack's 1974 NCAA championship basketball team, and also helped N.C. State win consecutive ACC baseball titles from 1973-75. Prior to his collegiate days, Stoddard was part of Washington High School's Indiana state championship team (29-0) in 1971.
Stoddard, 58, resides in Rolling Meadows, Ill. He has three daughters: Laura, 34, Anne, 32, and Ellen, 27.
Jon Mikrut is in his second season as an assistant coach at his alma mater. He works primarily with the team's infielders and hitters and is the program's recruiting coordinator.
Mikrut was a standout as both a shortstop and a pitcher during his time at NU, including earning third-team All-Big Ten accolades as an infielder during his sophomore season. His name can be found littered across the Northwestern career record book as he ranks first all-time in at-bats (788), second in games played (212) and saves (16), third in triples (11) and total bases (365), fourth in doubles (44) and sixth in hits (233).
A native of Wauconda, Ill., Mikrut was voted by his teammates as Co-Freshman of Year in 2002 and hit a team-best .317 the following year during his All-Big Ten campaign. Doubling as the team's closer, his 16 career saves came over his first three seasons in a Wildcat uniform.
Following his collegiate career, Mikrut signed a professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals' organization. He competed as both a position player and a pitcher for four seasons and advanced to the Double A level. Mikrut played in the 2006 Midwest League All-Star Game as a pitcher for the Swing of the Quad Cities and was also selected to the 2008 Florida State League All-Star Game.
He has six years of coaching experience as a baseball instructor at the Libertyville (Ill.) Sports Complex as well as recently serving as the head sophomore baseball coach at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill.
Mikrut graduated from Northwestern University in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in learning and organizational change from the School of Education and Social Policy.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Joe Keenan is in his 24th year as a Wildcat coach. As a volunteer assistant, Keenan works mainly with the catchers and outfielders. Since Keenan joined the staff in 1988, seven of his Wildcat catchers have been drafted -- Tom Dodge (Angels; 1990), Joe Perona (Tigers; 1991), Brett Wyngarden (Astros; 1992), Brian Fuller (Tigers; 1995), Joe Hietpas (Mets; 2001), Dan Pohlman (Diamondbacks; 2004) and Chad Noble (Cubs, 2010). An eighth, Doug Murray, was signed by Houston as a free agent in 1996.
Keenan was a standout catcher for three years at Notre Dame (1968-70), earning team MVP honors his final year. He was later named the Chicago College Player of the Year by the Old Timers Baseball Association.
A Park Ridge, Ill., native, Keenan graduated from Notre Dame in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in communication arts. He spent two years (1971-72) in the Cleveland Indians' minor league system.
Keenan, 60, returned to school to earn his juris doctorate, graduating from DePaul University in 1977. He and his wife, Sally, have two children: Katharine, 22, and Joseph, 21.