RU names new baseball coach

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Photo courtesy of RU Athletics
Karl Kuhn

Marty Gordon
NRVsports@ourvalley.org

Radford University has announced the hiring of Karl Kuhn, an assistant from the University of Virginia, as its new head baseball coach.

Director of Athletics Robert Lineburg said Kuhn is widely regarded as one of the best pitching coaches in college baseball, and this will serve him well as the head coach at Radford. “We are extremely confident that Karl will take Radford baseball to new heights in the coming years,” he said.

Thursday’s announcement comes just two weeks after longtime coach Joe Raccuia stepped down. Raccuia had been on administrative leave for the past two months. Administrators have refused to say why Raccuia had been suspended, instead calling it a personnel matter. His resignation was dated to take effect on August 31.

The Virginia pitching staff has seen unparalleled success in the past 15 seasons under Kuhn. Virginia possesses one of the top pitching staffs in the nation year in and year out under the 16th-year pitching coach of the Cavaliers. Since 2005, Virginia owns a 3.33 cumulative earned run average, fifth lowest in the nation.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to lead the Radford Baseball program.” Kuhn stated. “It’s such an incredible privilege and an honor. The mark of a good coach is to make a player a better player. The mark of a good leader is to make a man a better man. I am committed to doing both. We’re going to have a lot of fun, but it won’t be easy. Committing to something larger than yourself is where the true rewards lie. We will keep that in the forefront of our mission every day. We’ll build this program on things like accountability, responsibility and selflessness with an emphasis on honesty, trust and mutual respect. I can’t wait to meet our team, get on the field with them and share my vision for Radford Baseball with our alumni, fans and most importantly with our recruits.”

Kuhn was named Collegiate Baseball’s 2014 National Pitching Coach of the Year after UVA reached the College World Series Finals.

In 2010, Kuhn was the recipient of Collegiate Baseball’s Tom House Teaching Professional of the Year Award. The award recognizes excellence in teaching pitchers and acknowledges years of continued education and study of the latest pitching techniques as identified by scientific fact and biomechanical research.

In 15 seasons, Kuhn’s pitching staff has won 639 games, an average of over 45 victories per season, while Virginia is one of just five programs to reach each of the last 12 NCAA tournaments. His staff has ranked among the top 20 teams nationally in ERA nine of the last 14 years, including a No. 1 ranking in 2011 and a No. 2 standing in 2014 when UVA posted the lowest ERA at UVA in 40 years. The Cavaliers also have racked up four No. 3 national ERA rankings (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009) during Kuhn’s tenure. His 2018 staff ranked No. 2 in the country in strikeouts per nine innings (10.5).

During Kuhn’s tenure in Charlottesville, UVA has produced 93 shutouts, including an ACC-record 16 in 2011. The Cavaliers also have boasted a league-high 29 ACC Pitchers of the Week during the last 15 years. Kuhn’s pitchers are notorious for pounding the strike zone, averaging just 2.9 walks per nine innings since 2004 – fewest in the ACC.

Five of Kuhn’s UVA proteges have gone on to reach the major league level. Michael Schwimer (Philadelphia) and Mike Ballard (Baltimore) each reached the big leagues in 2011. Sean Doolittle made his MLB debut in 2012 with the Oakland Athletics and was named to the MLB All-Star game twice (2014 & 2018).

Kuhn, was the first assistant coach to be hired at Virginia under head coach Brian O’Connor after serving as the associate head coach and pitching coach at Arkansas-Little Rock for seven years from 1997-2003.

Before coaching at UALR, Kuhn spent three years as the pitching coach at RU Big South rival, Charleston Southern.

Radford University’s baseball program is coming off a 30-27 record this past season including a 19-8 mark in Big South Conference play, losing in the tournament semi-finals to eventual champion, High Point.