Jim Belanger, who has coached 10 major-league draft picks over the past four years at Maryland, will guide the Kentucky pitching staff, Coach Nick Mingione announced Monday.
“I wanted Coach Belanger at Kentucky for numerous reasons,” Mingione said in a news release by the school. “What stood out to me was how much family means to him, the fact he’s won everywhere he’s been and his track record of player development.
“He did a great job at Maryland, going to two super regionals the past three years, and he truly understands what it takes to win at a very high level. … During this search process, his name was the one that kept surfacing, whether it was other college coaches or the people I spoke with in professional baseball.”
Belanger is a former University of Louisville pitcher, who was 5-5 with a 5.27 ERA in two seasons. He helped the Cardinals advance to the 2007 College World Series.
Belanger developed one of the nation’s best starting rotations this season, with Mike Shawaryn, Taylor Bloom and Brian Shaffer combining for 20 wins, 11 complete games and 232 strikeouts with only 48 walks. The starting trio led a Terrapins staff that finished ninth in the country in fewest walks allowed per nine innings (2.59) and 17th in WHIP ratio (1.22).
A native of North Babylon, N.Y., Belanger also served as Maryland’s associate head coach in 2015 and 2016.
“What sold me (on UK) was Coach Mingione,” Belanger said. “I had a great situation at Maryland, and for me to leave, it had to be something special. Coach Mingione is ultra-positive and his attitude and energy are qualities that are going to make him a really good head coach.”