BLACKSBURG, Va. — New Virginia Tech head baseball coach Patrick Mason has wasted no time in filling out his staff.
Mike Kunigonis – a long-time assistant – was promoted to Associate Head Coach and Mason has just named Robert Woodard his pitching coach.
“With the retention and promotion of Mike and the addition of Robert, I am absolutely thrilled with our staff,” Mason said. “I could not have asked for better people and coaches to surround myself with as Hokie Baseball starts its next chapter.”
Kunigonis will enter his sixth season on the Hokies’ bench and the 12th as a coach at the collegiate level. He served the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Tech in charge of the team’s offense and also managed the outfielders. Before that he spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach for Tech and has been on staff for both of the Hokies’ NCAA appearances the last four seasons.
“Mike is a tremendous asset to VT baseball and the community of Blacksburg,” Mason said. “He is a tireless recruiter and a very good coach. I am excited to watch Mike take on a larger role in our program, he has earned it.”
Woodard will enter his fourth season as a collegiate coach, which includes last season at UNC Wilmington and two years at his alma mater North Carolina. For the Seahawks, Woodard served as the team’s pitching coach and helped junior Mat Batts to the CAA’s Pitcher of the Year honor and a second team ABCA All-East selection.
"I could not be more excited to come on board here at Virginia Tech as a member of the coaching staff,” Woodard said. “Virginia Tech is one of the nation's premier combination of first-class academics and athletics.
“This opportunity is in large part possible because of the efforts and commitment from my pitching staff at UNC Wilmington this past year. I am grateful for my time as a member of Mark Scalf's coaching staff, and to be able to make a move from one well respected baseball program to another.”
Woodard joined the Tar Heels staff prior to the 2010 postseason, which followed a three-year professional career in the San Diego Padres minor league organization after being selected in the 20th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft. He assisted with all aspects of the program, including the pitching staff under the direction of Associate Head Coach Scott Forbes.
As a player, Woodard concluded his career with a 34-5 record – the most wins by a Tar Heel pitcher ever – and included a perfect 22-0 mark at home. He earned All-ACC honors three times and finished among the league's all-time leaders in wins and innings pitched. As the anchor of the pitching staff, Woodard helped the Tar Heels to the championship series of the CWS in 2006 and 2007. In 2006-07, he was also the recipient of the Patterson Medal given to UNC's most outstanding student-athletes.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Robert join our staff and the Hokie family,” Mason said. “Robert brings an impressive baseball resume, and an even more impressive knowledge and work ethic. He has developed quite a reputation as being a relentless recruiter and I am very much looking forward to watching him work with and develop our pitchers.”
Mason was named the program’s 24th head baseball coach on June 27 of this year.