Hawkeyes Tab Kenny as Pitching Coach  

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Sean Kenny has been named the pitching coach for the University of Iowa Baseball team, head coach Rick Heller announced Monday.

Kenny brings 28 years of coaching experience to Iowa City. He spent the 2024 season as the pitching coach at the University of Houston and spent the previous seven years at the University of Georgia.

Kenny coached the last 15 seasons with Power 5 programs, tutoring 45 pitchers who were selected in the MLB Draft.

In his lone season with the Cougars, Kenny helped lower the team’s ERA from 6.27 to 5.59, cut their walks-per-nine from 5.12 to 4.79, and the staff improved both its strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.77 to 2.19) and strikeouts-per-nine (9.1 to 10.3).

In his seven seasons with the Bulldogs, Kenny made a dramatic impact with the program, helping Georgia to three NCAA Tournaments, including two as a national seed.

The 2023 Bulldogs finished with a 29-27 mark. The team overcame a 1-9 SEC start to go 10-10 over its final 20 league games to qualify for the SEC Tournament. Due to injuries, Georgia employed five different SEC rotations during the year.

The 2022 squad advanced to the NCAA Chapel Hill (N.C.) Regional and posted a 36-23 overall record, including a 15-15 mark in the SEC, which was good for second place in the Eastern Division. Injuries again impacted the pitching staff as the Bulldogs used eight different weekend rotations (six in SEC action) and managed to maintain their place in the nation’s top 25 rankings throughout the regular season. The staff tallied 563 strikeouts in only 59 games, which marked the third best total in school history.

The 2021 team spent 11 weeks in the nation’s top 25 and reached as high as No. 5 before a slew of injuries eventually took its toll on the club that finished 31-25. The staff held opponents to a .226 batting average and tallied 570 strikeouts, with both of those marks ranking second best in school history.

Georgia was poised to have another memorable season in 2020 when the campaign ended after 18 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulldogs finished the year ranked as high as No. 2 nationally with a 14-4 record. The pitching staff had a 2.52 ERA and held opponents to a .206 batting average. The team featured a pair of power arms in junior Emerson Hancock, who went sixth overall in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft to Seattle, and Cole Wilcox, who received a record signing bonus from San Diego as a third-round selection. The duo combined to sign for $9 million.

The Bulldogs posted one of their best regular seasons in school history in 2019, going 42-14, including a school record 21-9 in the SEC. Then, Georgia advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament and played host to another NCAA Regional as a top eight National Seed.

Georgia finished the 2019 season with a 46-17 record – the win total was the fourth most in school history while the 42 victories during the regular season was the second most. The pitching staff set school records for strikeouts in a season with 601 and an opponent’s batting average of .200 that was the lowest in the SEC. The squad’s 3.24 ERA was the second best in school history, trailing only the 1958 team mark of 2.97. Additionally, the team tallied 19 saves and allowed just 235 runs, both marks that ranked second best in school history.

In his first year with the Bulldogs in 2018, Kenny’s influence with the pitching staff helped Georgia post its finest season in a decade. Georgia went 39-21 overall, 18-12 in the SEC, earned a No. 8 National Seed for the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Athens Regional Final. Georgia’s team ERA of 3.97 was 1.05 runs lower compared to the 2017 squad, and the staff established a school record by holding opponents to a .236 batting average while tallying 532 strikeouts. The Bulldogs’ 18 saves ranked third best in school history.

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Kenny followed head coach Erik Bakich to the University of Michigan after three seasons at the University of Maryland. With the Wolverines, Kenny tutored 10 pitchers selected in the MLB Draft while his staff consistently ranked at the top of the Big Ten Conference in multiple categories, helping the program to two NCAA postseason appearances.

Under the direction of Kenny, Maryland’s pitching staff set school records while ranking near the top of the ACC standings. With the Terrapins, he also served as the recruiting coordinator and produced a recruiting class in 2010 that was the program’s first top-25 ranked recruiting class, while developing three MLB Draft picks.

Kenny spent six seasons as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Pepperdine under Steve Rodriguez. He helped guide the Waves to five NCAA Regional appearances and three West Coast Conference (WCC) titles. He coached the 2005 WCC Pitcher of the Year and the 2005 WCC Freshman of the Year in Barry Enright who went on to be named the 2006 WCC Pitcher of the Year and eventually reached the Major Leagues with Arizona in 2010. During his tenure with the Waves, 12 pitchers were selected in the MLB Draft.

Before heading to Pepperdine, Kenny worked at the University of San Diego where he served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator on Rich Hill’s staff from 1999-2003. He helped USD to West Coast Conference titles in 2002 and 2003 and recruited the nation’s 22nd-best class for 2004. One of his standout players was 2002 WCC Pitcher of the Year and Third Team All-American Ricky Barrett. A total of 12 Toreros, including three pitchers were selected in the MLB Draft during his stint at San Diego.

Kenny began his coaching career as volunteer assistant at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., in 1997, working with the outfielders. He landed his first full-time coaching position at Laney Community College in Oakland, California, where he served as pitching coach in 1998.

Kenny is a graduate of Eastern Michigan where he earned All-Mid-American Conference honors as a pitcher for the Eagles. He was a 17th-round selection of the New York Mets in the 1993 MLB Draft and played three seasons of professional baseball. He earned a bachelor’s­ degree in literature from EMU in the fall of 1997 and a master’s in physical education from Saint Mary’s in 2000.

Kenny and his wife, Marissa, have one son, Ayden.