Florida’s O’Sullivan named National Coach of Year

Coach of the Year
Florida's Kevin O'Sullivan is Collegiate Baseball's 2017 National Coach of The Year. [Brad McClenny/Staff Photographer]

Kevin O’Sullivan has displayed the skills associated with being one of the top college baseball coaches during his 10-year tenure at Florida.

After helping guide the Gators to their first national championship this week, the national accolades are flowing in. On Friday, he was named Collegiate Baseball and D1Baseball.com National Coach of the Year.

It is the first national Coach of The Year honor for O’Sullivan from Collegiate Baseball and D1, and it marks the 12th time a Southeastern Conference head coach has won the honor since the award’s inception in 1980. It is the second time that he has won a Coach of the Year honor after being named the 2011 National Coach of the Year by Baseball America.

O’Sullivan led the Gators to their first national title in baseball at the recent College World Series. Florida did not commit an error in its last five games of the College World Series, an all-time record during that span of time, while its pitching staff fanned 68 batters over six games which was the second highest total by a national champion in history.

What makes the national championship even more impressive is that the Gators lost eight players off last year’s College World Series team to the Major League Draft as O’Sullivan and his marvelous coaching staff rebuilt the team.

The Gators hosted an NCAA Regional and lost a game but rebounded by winning the championship. Then Florida hosted a Super Regional and lost another game but rallied to win that championship. At the College World Series, Florida lost another contest but bounced back to win the bracket title and ultimately the national championship with two straight wins over LSU.

Under O’Sullivan, Florida has made more College World Series appearances than any team in the last decade (6) and has produced 77 draft picks during that time.

The Gators overcame injuries, getting swept at Auburn to start the SEC schedule, hitting slumps and more to win on the biggest stage and make Florida the only school in the last 50 years to win national titles in football, men’s basketball and baseball.

Now in his 10th season with the Gators, O’Sullivan and his staff have transformed Florida into one of the marquee programs in college baseball.

During a tenure which has been marked by tireless recruiting, which has featured three No. 1 national recruiting championships as determined by Collegiate Baseball (2015, 2013, 2009), he has overseen a progression up the national ladder that has been punctuated by six trips to the NCAA College World Series in the past eight years, highlighted by a national championship this season, a runner-up performance in 2011, four SEC titles in (2010-11-14-17), as well as 10 NCAA Tournaments in a row.

The Gators started SEC play this season with a 6-6 record and then finished by winning 15 of 18 league games. Since O’Sullivan took over the Florida baseball program in 2008, he has led the Gators to more SEC wins than any other school (192).

Another barometer of great coaching is that Florida earned 19 one-run wins this season, the most in the country. No other team had more than 14 (Oregon St.).

Florida earned its eighth national seed in 10 years under O’Sullivan in 2017, the most in the nation in that span.