Associate head coach Terry Rooney enters his second season as LSU’s pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. He arrived in Baton Rouge with Paul Mainieri in the summer of 2006 after three seasons as the Notre Dame pitching coach.
Rooney, 34, was promoted to associate head coach at LSU in July 2007. His 2007 LSU recruiting class was voted No. 1 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball magazine. The star-studded class included nine players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. Eight of the players were High School All-Americans and three earned JUCO All-America recognition.
Rooney’s first season as LSU was highlighted by the accomplishments of All-SEC right-hander Jared Bradford, who posted either a win or a save in 10 of the Tigers’ 12 league victories.
Rooney’s philosophy features the concept of “offensive pitching” that focuses on aspects that the staff can control – being mechanically sound, working to advantage counts, high first-pitch strike percentages and controlling the running game.
Rooney arrived in the fall of 2003 at Notre Dame, where his primary role centered on instructing the program’s highly-regarded pitching staff while also serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator. His earlier eight seasons as a Division I assistant included serving as pitching coach with four programs – George Washington, James Madison, Old Dominion and Stetson – with additional recruiting coordinator responsibilities in four of those seasons.
Rooney’s recruiting skills and guidance as a pitching coach have combined to yield several noteworthy success stories. In each of the past 10 seasons, at least one of his former pitchers has gone on to sign a professional contract despite not being drafted out of high school. Nineteen of his former pitchers have been MLB draft picks, with eight selected in the first 10 rounds. Rooney’s most recent draft selection was LSU left-hander Charlie Furbush, the fourth-round choice of the Detroit Tigers in 2007.
Rooney, a Fairfax, Va. native, has been involved in eight recruiting classes that have been ranked among the national leaders, including the No. 1 class at LSU in ?07 and Notre Dame’s group of 2006 freshmen that were rated as the nation’s seventh-best recruiting class.
Rooney’s experienced immediate success at Notre Dame as his 2004 staff yielded a 3.43 ERA in 2004 that ranked ninth in the nation ? the program’s fifth straight season among the nation’s Top 20 ERA leaders (matched only by Texas and Rice). An emphasis on limiting free passes in ’04 yielded just 162 walks for an average of 2.63 walks per nine innings that ranks second in the Notre Dame record books.
Rooney’s 2006 staff set or tied four Notre Dame records — strikeouts thrown (504), saves (18), staff strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.95; 504/171) and fewest wild pitches (0.38/gm).
The 2006 Irish staff also allowed just 18 home runs all season for the best HR average by Notre Dame in the 12-season Mainieri era (0.29 HR allowed/gm). The ’06 staff ranked third-best in the Mainieri era in ERA (3.52; 20th in the nation for ’06) and opponent batting average (.249). Notre Dame’s team ERA finished in the nation’s Top 20 in two of Rooney’s three seasons with the Irish.
Rooney supervised the development in 2006 of right-hander Kyle Weiland, who was third in the nation in with 16 saves and earned first-team Freshman all-America recognition.
The 2006 Major League Baseball Draft marked the first time three Irish pitchers were selected by MLB clubs ? righthander Jeff Samardzija (fifth round, Chicago Cubs), righthander Jeff Manship (14th round, Minnesota Twins) and lefthander Tom Thornton (21st round, Detroit Tigers).
Notre Dame pitchers Grant Johnson (second round, Chicago Cubs) and Chris Niesel (ninth round, Cleveland Indians) were chosen in the 2004 MLB draft, marking the first time in school history two pitchers were selected in the first 10 rounds.
Rooney’s two seasons at Stetson ? including the final season as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator ? included two NCAA appearances and 40-win seasons with four pitchers earning all-conference honors. The ’03 staff posted a 4.43 ERA and a 2:1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. The season highlight came in NCAA Regional action at Georgia Tech when Adam Blair’s 10 strikeouts helped defeat the seventh-ranked Yellow Jackets, 4-3. A team-record five Stetson players were selected in the ’03 draft, including two pitchers. The ’02 Stetson staff racked up 422 strikeouts, led by 12-game winner Roger Lincoln.
Rooney also produced at Stetson a recruiting class ranked No. 12 in the nation by Baseball America magazine, marking the highest rating in the history of the program. Three members of that class were selected in the first 10 rounds of the ’06 MLB draft.
During Rooney’s two seasons at Old Dominion (2000-01), ODU earned an NCAA Regional berth as a No. 2 seed in 2000. He assembled a recruiting class for the ’01 season that was nationally-ranked, and four of the pitchers he coached went on to pro baseball. Most notably among the recruiting class was Justin Verlander, now one of the American League’s top pitchers with the Detroit Tigers.
Rooney’s two years at James Madison (1998-99) included a pair of nationally-ranked recruiting classes, as he first assumed the role of pitching coach/recruiting coordinator in 1999. Two of his JMU pitchers were later drafted in the first 10 rounds despite not being drafted out of high school. Six of the ’99 JMU freshmen went on to sign pro contracts, including three that were drafted in rounds 1-5.
Rooney’s coaching career began in 1997 at George Washington after he had completed his playing career in Radford. His experience in top wood-bat summer leagues included serving as head coach for the Waynesboro (Va.) Generals 1998 Valley League champs, in addition to being an assistant with Valley League champion Staunton (1996) and Cape Cod League Cotuit (1997).
Rooney has served as a baseball clinic instructor, and he has authored a video produced by Championship Books and Videos: 30 Minutes to Better Pitching: A Championship Workout.
A 1996 Radford graduate with a degree in social science, Rooney ranks second in Radford history with 79 appearances and posted an 8-2 career record. He played one season at Davis & Elkins (W.Va.) College, compiling a 4-2 record.
Rooney and his wife, Shaun, were married on December 29, 2007.
The Rooney File
Year at LSU: Second
Birthdate: Nov. 29, 1973
Hometown: Fairfax County, Va.
Education: Radford, 1996 – B.A. in social science
1993 Davis & Elkins (W.Va.) College
2007- LSU (assoc. head coach/pitching coach/recruiting coordinator
2004-06 Notre Dame (pitching coach)
2002-03 Stetson (pitching coach)
2000-01 Old Dominion (pitching coach)
1998-99 James Madison (pitching coach)
1997 George Washington (pitching coach)