Nov. 23, 2009

Courtesy of Western Illinois Athletisc

MACOMB, Ill. -
Western Illinois University has announced the hiring of Mike Villano as its new head baseball coach, Monday, Nov. 23.

Villano takes over the program after the passing of Stan Hyman, who served as head coach of the Leathernecks for eight seasons.

"This is a bittersweet announcement in that we will always remember Stan Hyman as a great person and a great baseball coach," Western Illinois Director of Athletics Dr. Tim M. Van Alstine said.

"However, I am pleased to announce that Mike Villano will continue in Stan's footsteps as the new Leatherneck baseball coach. Mike has an impressive and extensive background that spans from his time as a student-athlete to his professional playing career and his time as a coach."

Villano spent the past six seasons at Central Michigan University, where he served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator and spent last season as the team's hitting coach.

"I am very excited about this great opportunity at Western Illinois," Villano said. "I believe the program has tremendous potential because of its location in an area of the country that produces many great baseball players."

Under his guidance, the Chippewa pitching staff led the Mid-American Conference in team ERA in 2008 (4.62) and 2005 (3.31). His pitching staff finished second in the MAC and 14th nationally in ERA (3.71) while also finishing second in the conference in opponent batting average (.256) and strikeouts (387) during the 2007 campaign.

His 2007 staff included the MAC Pitcher of the Year in Josh Collmenter, who was eventually drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

On the recruiting trail, Villano helped compile a class that was ranked 27th nationally and first in the Midwest Region by Collegiate Baseball in 2006. He has coached a total of 27 players who have gone on to professional careers.

The Chippewas posted an overall record 202-137 (.596) and a conference record of 99-55 (.643) in Villano's time as an assistant.

Prior to his career at Central Michigan, Villano spent one season as the pitching coach at Oakland where he helped lower the pitching staff's ERA from 7.00 in 2002 to 4.90 in 2003.

Villano enjoyed a successful playing career at both the collegiate and professional levels. He was a four-time all-conference selection as a pitcher at Saginaw Valley State University and was named as the Great Lakes Conference Freshman of the Year in 1991.

He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 24th round of the 1994 amateur draft and played professionally for nine seasons, culminating with a Major League call-up from the Florida Marlins in 1998.

Villano earned his bachelor's degree from Saginaw Valley State in 2001 and also earned a master's degree in physical education from Central Michigan in 2008.