Mids and Black Knights to play April 20 in Boston
Mids fall to Bison 5-0 and end 2017 season with 37-17 record
Song holds Bison scoreless through seven innings
Seven Navy pitchers combine for shutout
Visiting Retrievers tack on seven late runs to break open 3-0 game
In 12 seasons as head coach of the Navy baseball team, Kostacopoulos has become the program’s second-winningest head coach with 373 victories in Annapolis. After passing Max Bishop (306) on March 20, 2016 with a 7-3 victory over NJIT, he now trails just Joe Duff (595) in the all-time coaching standings.In eight of his 12 seasons, the Mids have won at least 30 games; marking the first time that the program has accomplished the feat. In 2016, Kostacopoulos’ Midshipmen squad won a school record 43 games, the most-ever for a Naval Academy athletic team. For those within the college baseball ranks, this type of success should not come as a surprise as it has been synonymous with Kostacopoulos throughout his career.
Kostacopoulos became the 31st-active NCAA Division I head coach to reach the 800-win plateau as he achieved the mark in February of 2016. Through 28 years as a collegiate head coach, he has an all-time record of 877-603-7 (.599). He has won more than 30 games 17 times during his career and boasted a winning percentage of .500 or better 22 times in his career. The Middletown, Conn., native guided the Midshipmen to three-consecutive 30-win seasons from 2006-08 - a first in program history. In fact, prior to his arrival, Navy had posted three 30-win campaigns in the program’s first 109 years. Kostacopoulos and the Mids are currently on another three-year run of 30-plus wins (2015-pres.).
Under his watch, Navy has had eight selections in the MLB First-Year Player Draft since 2007. Most recently, starting pitcher Luke Gillingham was selected in the 37th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 draft. Prior to Gillingham in 2015, starting pitcher Stephen Moore set a program record as the highest chosen player from the Naval Academy in the MLB Draft as the right-hander went No. 300 to the Atlanta Braves in the 10th round. 2012 draftee Alex Azor held the previous mark as Azor was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 10th round (No. 325 overall). In that same draft, pitcher Preston Gainey was taken in the 11th round (No. 365 overall) by the Milwaukee Brewers.The selection of Azor and Gainey marked the third time Navy had two draft picks in the same year. Pitchers Mitch Harris (13th round, St. Louis) and Oliver Drake (43rd round, Baltimore) were both selected in 2008, and prior to that in 2007, Harris (24th round, Atlanta) and catcher Jonathan Johnston (42nd round, Oakland) became the first Navy duo selected in school history.
In April of 2015, Harris became the first Naval Academy graduate since 1921 to reach the Major Leagues as he joined the St. Louis Cardinals in a bullpen role. The 2008 grad, posted a 2-1 record and 3.67 ERA in his debut season.
Before Harris, Kostacopoulos had coached several players that went on to play in the professional ranks, including former MLB infielders John McDonald and Lou Merloni.
2017 saw the Mids once again rise to the top of the Patriot League as the team finished in first place with a 16-4 league mark. Overall, the Mids went 37-15 in 2017. Under Kostacopoulos' direction, Navy became the first Patriot League program to win the regular season title outright in three consecutive seasons. To put an exclamation point on the Mids' dominance in 2017, the team finished first by four games over second-place Holy Cross (12-8). The regular season title gave Navy its seventh straight bid to the Patriot League postseason tournament. The Mids were felled by the Bucknell Bison in the semifinals, 2-0. Individually, Navy players earned a host of postseason accolades as Travis Blue and Kyle Condry were named the Patriot League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. In total, Navy had seven players earn All-Patriot League honors (5-1st team, 2-2nd team). Blue also went on to earn All-ECAC and ABCA All-East honors. Kostacopoulos' freshmen class also generated national notoriety as 3B Jacob Williamson and 2B/OF Zach Biggers were selected to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. The duo became just the ninth and 10th players in program history to each such an honor. Statistically, Navy had both a 13-game winning streak (April 5 - April 22) and an 11-game streak (March 8 - March 24) during the year. The 13-game streak is third-longest in program history and was seventh-longest in the NCAA DI in 2017. The Mids finished top-50 in five NCAA categories: triples (8th-25), winning percentage (23rd-.685), batting average (35th-.297), pitching walks allowed/9 ratio (38th-3.14) and scoring average (39th-6.8).
The 2016 season saw Kostacopoulos spearhead Navy’s squad into a spot in the NCAA Tournament. After winning both the Patriot League regular season title with a 15-5 mark and the postseason title with a dramatic three-game tilt versus Holy Cross in the conference finals, the Mids were NCAA Tournament bound for the first time since 2011. The fourth-seed in the Raleigh Regional, the 2016 team secured just the fifth all-time NCAA Tournament victory in program history with an 8-5 victory over Saint Mary’s in 13 innings. Kostacopoulos repeated as the Patriot League Coach of the Year and saw two members of his starting pitching staff, Luke Gillingham and Noah Song, garner Patriot League Pitcher and Rookie of the Year nods, as well. In total, seven Mids were recognized with All-Patriot League honors, six on the first team and one on the second. Additionally, both Gillingham and Song were honored on a national level with a pair of All-American accolades going to Gillingham and a pair of Freshmen All-Americans nods to Song. Statistically, Navy finished top-50 in 10 NCAA categories with shutouts thrown (second), triples (four), winning percentage (10th) and ERA (19th) leading the way.
In Kostacopoulos’ 10th season in Annapolis in 2015, he led Navy to its fifth consecutive Patriot League tournament appearance with a league-best 13-7 record and an overall mark of 37-20. Led by a pair of All-Americans in second-teamer LHP Luke Gillingham and third-teamer OF Sean Trent, the 2015 team set the program record for most victories in a season. In addition to their All-American honors, the duo plus Kostacopoulos swept the major Patriot League awards with the Player, Pitcher and Coach of the Year honors all coming home to Annapolis. Statistically, the Mids finished top-50 in 10 NCAA categories, including triples (first), shutouts (12th), ERA (21st) and winning percentage (36th). The Mids 36 triples and 464 strikeouts by its pitchers are both school records.
In 2014, Kostacopoulos led Navy to its fourth consecutive Patriot League tournament appearance. His Class of 2014 was the first since 2003 to qualify for the league tournament in all four years. An extremely young squad with 22 sophomores or freshmen, Kostacopoulos led the Mids from an 0-4 opening Patriot League weekend to the fourth seed in the end-of-the-year tournament. Also during the 2014 campaign, Navy swept the top Patriot League Honors as Kash Manzelli ‘14 and Anthony Parenti ‘15 were named Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. The pair of honors were swept by Mids for the first time since 1998.
During the summer of 2014, Kostacopoulos was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 2013, Kostacopoulos led Navy to its third consecutive Patriot League tournament appearance after finishing second in the regular season. In 2011, he led Navy to the both the Patriot League regular season and tournament championships as the Mids earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Kostacopoulos was named Patriot League Coach of the Year and a total of six Mids were named to the All-Patriot League Teams.
The 2011 NCAA Tournament appearance was the fifth of Kostacopoulos' career as he previously guided Providence (1992, '95) and Maine (2002, '05) to the postseason. The Mids' 33 wins marked the fourth-highest total in program history, while their runs (358) and hits (530) were both good for second on Navy's all-time list.
In 2010, Kostacopoulos led Navy to its fourth 30-win season in the last five years, and seventh in academy history. Kostacopoulos helped guide the 2010 senior class to a total of 117 victories - the most by any class in program history. As a team in 2010, Kostacopoulos helped the Mids to top-10 marks in program history in several offensive categories, including: batting average (.314, seventh), runs (328, fifth), hits (522, third) and RBIs (298, fourth).
In 2009, despite being plagued with several preseason injuries and having the youngest team in the Patriot League, Navy still won 20 games, hit 30-plus home runs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history and recorded the fourth-highest strikeout total in school history.
In 2008, Kostacopoulos led the Midshipmen to the Patriot League Championship series for the first time since 2003 and capped the year with a 32-25-1 overall record and an 11-9 mark in Patriot League play. Navy hosted both the Patriot League Semifinals and Championship series and set nine team records in the process. The offense finished the year with a .304 batting average, while the pitching staff recorded a 4.77 ERA - both marks that ranked among the top 100 nationally.
During his second season in Annapolis in 2007, Kostacopoulos directed the Midshipmen to a school-record 35-win campaign and their first Patriot League Tournament appearance since 2003. Navy also smashed the program record for home wins with 22 and posted winning streaks of four games or more on four occasions. The pitching staff excelled with a 3.88 team ERA, the lowest in 12 years and 34th-best mark in the country on the year.
Inheriting a team that won only 12 games in 2005, Kostacopoulos engineered a turnaround that saw the team go 32-21-1 in 2006, then the second-highest win total in school history and most by a first-year Navy skipper. The 20 victories over the previous season's mark ranks as the best turnaround in school history and tied for the largest win-improvement in Patriot League history. Navy's 24 victories in non-league contests also established a school record.
In 2006, Mitch Harris also became the first Navy baseball player in over a decade to earn All-America honors.
Prior to his arrival in Annapolis, Kostacopoulos coached Maine to a 284-195 (.593) mark over nine years in Orono. He led the team to a 35-19 record in 2005, as the Black Bears won the America East Championship and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in his tenure. At the NCAA Regional in Oxford, Miss., Maine defeated Southern Miss, 12-2, giving the school its first NCAA Tournament baseball win since 1991.
Kostacopoulos, 52, came to Maine after seven years at Providence College where he led his squads to a record of 220-137-2 (.616). In 1995, his Friars were 44-15 and won a school-record 16 Big East games. After winning the regular-season Big East Championship, the Friars finished as the tournament runner-up and received an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Providence was 29-23 in 1992 and won the Big East Tournament to advance to the NCAA South I Regional. Kostacopoulos served as an assistant at Providence for two seasons before 1990, when at age 25, he became the youngest Division I head coach in the country. He was named the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Northeast Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1995, and received both Big East and New England Coach-of-the-Year honors in 1995.
In 1997, Kostacopoulos took over a struggling Maine program and brought instant success. The Black Bears finished with a 24-27 mark, a five-win improvement over the previous season. Maine's 16-8 league record earned Kostacopoulos America East Coach-of-the-Year honors. The 2001 team turned in a 36-15 record, the fifth-highest win total in program history at the time, and finished second in the America East with a 20-8 league record. He was named America East Coach of the Year - the third time he has earned a league coach-of-the-year award. Kostacopoulos' 2002 squad finished with the first 40-win season at Maine since 1991, and only the third in school history. The Black Bears also won the school's 12th conference title and made an appearance in the NCAA Regional.
Kostacopoulos earned his bachelor's degree from Providence College in 1987, capping a four-year career as a member of the Friar baseball team. He played 139 games and batted .260. As a senior, he was both captain and defensive player of the year. He comes from a family steeped in New England baseball; his father, Peter Kostacopoulos, recorded over 400 wins in 27 seasons as head baseball coach at Wesleyan University, and his brother, Pete, head coach at the Worcester Academy, has held coaching positions at Colby College, Dartmouth College, and Wesleyan.
He is married to former Providence College basketball standout Joanie Powers, and has a daughter, Annie and a son, Matthew.