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Curtis Granderson Wins Prestigious Roberto Clemente Award
UIC alum and New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson has been named the winner of the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball announced Friday. The prominent honor is annually bestowed upon the player who best represents the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
The steady influence instilled in the University of Illinois at Chicago's baseball program since the arrival of Mike Dee as head coach 16 years ago has been evident across every facet, both on and off the diamond.
Well over 50 of Dee's former players have gone on to professional baseball careers. Most recently, Dee saw pitcher Tomas Michelson begin his pro career when he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014.
The follow Steve Carlson (New York Yankees, 2001), Curtis Granderson (Detroit Tigers, 2002), Wes Gilliam (Arizona Diamondbacks, 2002), Kevin Ryan (San Diego Padres, 2002), Kevin Nelson (New York Yankees, 2003), David Haehnel (Baltimore Orioles, 2004), Jordan DeVoir (New York Yankees, 2004), Ryan Gehring (Minnesota Twins, 2004), Mike Hughes (Anaheim Angels, 2004), Nelson Gord (Schaumburg Flyers, 2004; Houston Astros, 2007), Bryan Russo (Schaumburg Flyers, 2004), Justin Johnson (Baltimore Orioles, 2006), Ryan Zink (New York Yankees, 2007), Zach Peterson (Kansas City Royals, 2007), Kevin Coddington (Cincinnati Reds, 2008) and Adam Worthington (Arizona Diamondbacks, 2009) as UIC players playing professionally since Dee's arrival.
Associate Head Coach
The UIC baseball program has evolved into a perennial league champion and regional contender over the course of the last decade, and Sean McDermott has played an immense role in the Flames' maturation process every step of the way. Entering his 17th season, McDermott works primarily with UIC's offense and defense, and the Flames have thrived in both departments during his tenure.
In the summer of 2013, McDermott was promoted to Associate Head Coach after serving as assistant coach for the previous 15 seasons.
This past season, UIC received national attention for its performance at plate as seven Flames' hitters recorded batting averages well over the coveted .300 mark. UIC ended the 2014 campaign ranked 11th in the country in batting average (.304) and 10th in on-base percentage (.393). The Flames also averaged 6.6 runs per contest which stands as the 16th highest mark in all of Division I ball for the 2014 season.
Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Former UIC pitcher John Flood returned to his alma mater in the 2008-09 season to don the number 26 once again. Flood, who was a key member of the 2003 pitching staff that guided the Flames to the school's first-ever NCAA Regional berth, serves as UIC baseball's recruiting coordinator and assistant coach. In his first two years with Flames, Flood worked as a volunteer assistant coach.
Flood is widely known as one of the top college recruiters in the Midwest and annually produces some of the best newcomer classes in the Horizon League.
A native of Mt. Vernon, Ill., Flood originally came to UIC in the fall of 2001 and, after sitting out the 2002 season as a redshirt, made a huge impact in his debut campaign in 2003. He went 6-2 in 13 appearances, starting 10 games, to go with a 3.68 earned run average during UIC's Horizon League tournament title run and inaugural NCAA Regional appearance. After a torn labrum in his right shoulder that required surgery hampered his collegiate pitching career, Flood entered the coaching ranks.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Brian Harris began his tenure as a volunteer assistant coach with the UIC Flames during the 2015-16 academic year and the 2016 baseball season.
In his first season in Windy City, Harris helped the Flames win 25 games. In addition, six UIC players were recognized as All-Horizon League performers with Harris' assistance.
The Nashville, Tenn., native played collegiately in his hometown at Vanderbilt University from 2006-10. After redshirting as a true freshman in 2006, Harris developed into a capable reserve in 2007. He appeared in 29 games and made eight starts, while hitting .283 with 12 runs scored.