July 16, 2007
Cullowhee, N.C. - Former Georgia Tech associate head and pitching coach, Bobby Moranda, has been named head baseball coach at Western Carolina University announced today by WCU Athletic Director Chip Smith. Moranda, who becomes the 10th different head coach of the Catamounts since 1951, brings nearly 21 years of coaching experience - 18 of which comes from schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference - to WCU.
Moranda will formally be introduced as the head coach this Thursday (July 19) at 11:00 am in the Hospitality Room of the Ramsey Center. The press conference is open to the public.
Moranda replaces Todd Raleigh who accepted the head coaching position at the University of Tennessee in late June after guiding the Catamounts to within a game of its first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance.
Terms of the contract are undisclosed, pending the approval of the Western Carolina Board of Trustees.
"Bobby Moranda is one of the most dynamic coaches in college baseball. He has been an important part of successful programs at such schools as Virginia, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech," Smith said. "His career includes numerous conference championships and appearances in the NCAA post-season play, including two College World Series berths. We are very excited that Bobby, his wife Pamela and their family will be part of Catamount Athletics and Western Carolina University."
Smith added, "The search process was difficult in that a number of very qualified coaches made themselves candidates for the position. Throughout the process, we spent a great deal of time talking with college coaches and athletic directors, including those who continue to be close to Western Carolina Baseball. One name that we heard consistently was Bobby Moranda. Throughout his career, programs with which he has been associated have achieved an enviable level of success. His commitment to academic excellence is an important part of his overall philosophy. Probably as important as any factor in his hiring was the enthusiasm he generated with the members of the baseball team who met him during the interview process."
Moranda comes to Cullowhee after having spent the past six seasons as the associate head and pitching coach at Georgia Tech where he also served a vital role in recruiting. Prior to his stint with the Yellow Jackets, he spent six years in a similar role at Wake Forest (1996-2001) and was an assistant coach at both Virginia (1990-95) and his alma mater, Eastern Kentucky (1987-89). Overall, Moranda has been a part of eight conference championships and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances as either a player or a coach.
Under the tutelage of Moranda, a combined 12 pitchers have been selected in the top five rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft, including Matt Wieters, the fifth pick of the 2007 MLB Draft. In all, Moranda has coached 26 players who have been selected in the baseball draft, 20 of which were undrafted out of high school.
"I am extremely excited to be the head baseball coach at Western Carolina," said Moranda. "This is an awesome opportunity. Catamount baseball has a strong tradition and I am humbled and honored to now be a part of it. I look forward to embracing and continuing that tradition while raising the bar and elevating our baseball program."
"Throughout this process, the WCU administration has been tremendous and together we have a great vision for the direction of the Catamount baseball program," he added.
During his six seasons at Georgia Tech, Moranda helped guide the Yellow Jackets to four, Top 10 finishes, three ACC titles and a pair of appearances in the NCAA College World Series. In 2002, Georgia Tech won a school-record 52 games en route to the CWS thanks in part to a pitching staff which set school records for "Fewest Walks per Nine Innings" (2.54 per 9 IP) and best "Walk to Strikeout" ratio (2.90 to 1) while boasting the best team earned run average since 1994 (4.06) and recorded its most shutouts (6) since 1997.
Amidst the run to the College World Series, Moranda's work with the Georgia Tech pitching staff was more evident than ever as the starting rotation of Kyle Bakker, Chris Goodman and Brian Burks combined for a 5-0 record and 0.77 ERA in NCAA regional play, while the entire staff combined for a 2.40 ERA and held opponents to a .208 batting average.
A year later, in 2003, Moranda's pitching staff helped Tech win the ACC championship by sweeping the first triple-header in conference history. The Yellow Jackets defeated North Carolina, Florida State and NC State on the final day of the tournament to capture the league title. Tech's 2003 pitching staff again ranked as one of the better staffs in recent GT history. The Yellow Jackets allowed the fewest hits per nine innings in the last 10 years, while posting the second best ERA in that span.
Three of Moranda's pitchers were selected in the first 20 rounds of the 2003 Major League draft - Goodman (5th round, Kansas City), Jeff Watchko (14th, Colorado) and Bakker (20th, Atlanta).
Prior to making the move to Georgia Tech in 2001, Moranda spent the previous six years at Wake Forest where he helped lead the Demon Deacons to three ACC Championships in his last four seasons. For his work, he was recognized by Baseball America magazine in January 2001 as one of the country's "Rising Stars" in the college baseball coaching ranks.
After helping lay the groundwork for his first two seasons at Wake Forest as head assistant coach, Moranda helped the Demon Deacons to back-to-back ACC Championships in 1998 and 1999, and a third title in 2001. He helped build the Demon Deacon program into one of the best in the nation through his recruiting efforts and his on-field work with the Wake Forest pitching staff and defense. His pitchers tossed two no-hitters, the school's first in 60 years.
Moranda's recruiting classes were annually ranked among the nation's top classes, while his pitching staffs have attracted national attention from both collegiate baseball experts and professional scouts. His recruiting efforts at Wake Forest resulted in six Freshman All-Americans, including the 2001 National Freshman of the Year, the 2003 ACC Player of the Year, and the first collegiate draft pick in 2003. In 1998 his Demon Deacon pitching staff attracted national attention by throwing five complete games in the six-game ACC tournament. The feat helped Wake Forest win the 1998 ACC Championship and advance to the NCAA South I Regional, the Deacons' first NCAA appearance in 21 years. Moranda and the Deacons followed that 1998 performance with a five game sweep through the 1999 ACC Tournament, a trip to the NCAA Super Regional and a top-10 national ranking.
In his six years at Wake Forest, Moranda consistently developed outstanding pitchers. Ten of his pitchers were selected in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, including two players - Sean DePaula of the Indians and Mike MacDougal of the Royals, who reached the big leagues. Five pitchers earned All-America honors, while his pitchers earned all-ACC accolades seven times in his last five years.
His experience with top pitchers extends back to his days at the University of Virginia, where from 1990 to 1995 Moranda helped lay the groundwork as recruiting coordinator that led to the Cavaliers 1996 ACC Championship team.
During his six years in Charlottesville as Virginia's assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, the Cavs produced more professional players than the program's previous 100 years combined. Prior to Moranda's arrival, Virginia had never produced a first-round draft pick or a first-team All-American. By 1996, however, the Cavaliers had two first round picks and two first-team All-Americans. Moranda's star pupils and recruits were outfielder Brian Buchannan and pitcher Seth Greisinger. Buchannan has played with the San Diego Padres and Greisinger, who starred on the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, reached the Major Leagues in 1998 with the Detroit Tigers.
As a player, Moranda was an All-Region performer at Harper Community College in Illinois and was part of back-to-back championship teams before accepting a scholarship to Eastern Kentucky. The native of Palatine, Ill., batted .307 with 20 home runs and 86 RBI in two seasons at EKU, helping the Colonels win two consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championships and a top-30 national ranking. The Colonels made two consecutive NCAA Regional appearances during Moranda's playing career and were just two games away from advancing to Omaha for the College World Series in 1985.
After gaining his undergraduate degree in broadcast management, Moranda stayed at Eastern Kentucky as an assistant coach for three years while working toward his master's degree in recreation administration, and EKU made another NCAA Regional appearance during his tenure. During that time, Moranda also coached an American Legion summer team in Palatine that featured Major League catcher Todd Hundley.
Moranda and his wife Pamela have been married for 12 years. The couple has two children, daughter Taylor Jade, (9) and son Breyson Kade (5).
What they are saying about Bobby Moranda:
Jack Leggett, Head Coach at Clemson; former head coach at Western Carolina
"I am excited about Bobby (Moranda) becoming the head coach at Western Carolina. I have always known him to be a hard worker and the teams where he has been - be it Virginia, Wake Forest or at Georgia Tech - have always won. He understands the tradition of Western baseball and (Western) made a great choice."
Todd Raleigh, Head Coach at Tennessee; former head coach at Western Carolina
"I have known Bobby (Moranda) since I was at James Madison and he was coaching at Virginia, so I have known him for a few years. Everywhere he has been in his career they have had good ball clubs and he is a big reason for it. He is very well respected in the coaching community and honestly, I am surprised he has not been a head coach before now. He knows baseball, he has the experience and I think he will do well at Western."
Danny Hall, Georgia Tech Head Coach
"Bobby (Moranda) has been a bright young star and a great coach for many years. It is good to see him get an opportunity as a head coach. If you look at his work here, he has been a part of - and a big part of the reason for - some of the best years of Georgia Tech baseball, which is saying a lot with the storied history we have around our program. We will miss him but at the same time we are excited for him."
Denis Womack, Asst. AD for Facilities and Operations at Virginia; former head coach at Virginia
"Western Carolina has made an absolutely perfect hire. Bobby (Moranda) is a solid gentleman, a family guy with lots of integrity who is well prepared to be a head coach in every aspect of the game. Every place he has been he has made better. Western has hired the best candidate available."
Kevin O'Sullivan, Head Coach at the Univ. of Florida, played for Bobby at Virginia
"Bobby (Moranda) is a tremendously hard worker. He is has a great track record of being involved in ACC championships and trips to Omaha. He will do a great job at Western and will continue to build on the great tradition of Western Carolina baseball."
Ron Wellman, Athletic Director at Wake Forest University
"He will recruit well; his teams (at Western) will play with enthusiasm and intensity."