PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – Brown head baseball coach Marek Drabinski, entering his 17th season behind the Bears' bench, has announced the hiring of Grant Achilles and Mike McCormack as assistant coaches for the 2013 season.
Achilles arrives on College Hill after spending a year in the assistant position at Georgetown University, a Division I member of the Big East Conference. While coaching for the Hoyas, Achilles worked primarily with the hitters, developing an offense that had a team batting average of .274 in Big East play, an improvement of .033 from the previous year. Two of his protégés were named to the All-Big East team for the 2012 season, with infielder Mike Garza earning first team honors and outfielder Justin Leeson being selected for the third team. Garza's 86 hits tied the Georgetown single-season hits record and he was drafted and signed by the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of the season. Leeson hit a career best .325 and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals.
Prior to his year at Georgetown, Achilles spent two seasons as a volunteer assistant on the staff at Wake Forest, working primarily with hitters and outfielders. At the conclusion of the 2010 season, the Kansas City Royals signed outfielder Steven Brooks to a minor league contract, and in 2011, the Demon Deacons returned to the ACC tournament for the first time since 2008.
Achilles also served on the staff at Western Carolina for two years, earning a promotion to assistant head coach after his first season. While at WCU, Achilles helped guide the Catamounts to two winning seasons, including a 35-22 mark in 2009.
A member of the team at Wake Forest from 2002 to 2006, Achilles was a four-year letter winner for the Demon Deacons. He appeared in 56 games, making 19 starts, while playing a variety of positions, including first base, second base, right field and catcher. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in communications.
"We are extremely fortunate to have Grant," says Drabinski. "He has over 10 years of Division I experience as both a coach and a player. He's been around, he knows a lot of people and he has a great reputation of working with hitters and infielders. We are lucky to have someone at Brown who has played in the ACC and coached at three high level schools. Georgetown and Wake Forest are also extremely good academically, so he understands that side of things as well. It's a good fit for both sides and I believe that he is going to do great things here."
McCormack comes to Brown after spending the last four years as an assistant coach under Jedd Soto at St. Mary's College of California, a Division I member of the West Coast Conference.
While at St. Mary's, McCormack played a significant role in every aspect of the baseball program, handling off-field responsibilities and also working with the outfielders, hitters and coaching first base. Over the course of his tenure, the Gaels had their highest single-season win total since 1991, as well as their first winning record since 2006. Ten position players received All-West Coast Conference honors, including four outfielders, and two received Freshman All-American honors. Infielder Troy Channing won the West Coast Conference Triple Crown in 2009 and graduated in 2012 as the program's all-time leader in home runs and runs batted in. McCormack also aided in the development of four position players who were drafted in Major League Baseball's First Year Player Draft. Outfielder Kyle Jensen (12th round, Miami Marlins) and first baseman Anthony Aliotti (15th round, Oakland Athletics) were selected in the 2009 draft, while infielder Patrick Wisdom (1st round comp. A, St. Louis Cardinals) and catcher Toby DeMello (27th round Seattle Mariners) were drafted in 2012.
After spending his freshman year at the University of Rochester, McCormack transferred to Worcester State University and was a three-year letter winner in the outfield. He was a team captain of the 2008 MASCAC Championship squad and NCAA New England Regional team and was named the University's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year during that same season. In 2010, McCormack was elected to Worcester State's All-Decade team. He graduated Cum Laude in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice.
"Mike is a New England native," says Drabinski, "which is great for our program. He has spent the last four years out on the west coast and he has developed connections all across the state, something that is really going to help us in recruiting. He also truly understands Brown and what it takes for student-athletes to be successful here. He is going to take the outfielders and help Grant with the hitters, and I think, between the two of them, our position players are in great hands. I'm looking forward to working with both of them."