Mids host the Bobcats on the weekend of March 14-15
In eight seasons as head coach of the Navy baseball team, Kostacopoulos has become the program's third-winningest head coach with 233 victories in Annapolis. He trails just Joe Duff (595) and Max Bishop (306) in the all-time coaching standings.
In five of his eight seasons, the Mids have won at least 30 games; marking the first time ever the program has accomplished the feat. 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 37th-active NCAA Division I head coach to reach the 700-win plateau as he achieved the mark in 2012. Now in his 25th year as a collegiate head coach, he enters 2014 with an all-time record of 737-522-6 (.585). He has won more than 30 games 14 times during his career and boasted a winning percentage of .500 or better 19 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.
Under his watch, Navy has had six selections in the MLB First-Year Player Draft since 2007. Most recently, outfielder Alex Azor and starting pitcher Preston Gainey were both chosen in the 2012 draft. Azor was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 10th round (No. 325 overall), while Gainey was taken in the 11th round (No. 365 overall) by the Milwaukee Brewers. Azor's 10th-round selection was the highest a player from the Naval Academy has ever been taken in the MLB Draft.
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. Kostacopoulos has guided several players that went on to play in the professional ranks, including Toronto Blue Jays shortstop John McDonald and former major league infielder Lou Merloni.
Last season, 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 third-highest total in program history, while their runs (358) and hits (530) were both good for second on Navy's all-time list. The pitching staff set a new program record with a total of 423 strikeouts.
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 team that went 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 Tourname
nt 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, 49, 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 (13) and a son, Matthew (10).