Tom Gorzelanny is in his fourth season as the University of Iowa baseball program’s director of player development and his fifth season on the coaching staff. Gorzelanny was the Hawkeyes’ volunteer assistant and pitching coach during the 2019 season.
During the 2021 season, the Hawkeyes won a school-record 26 Big Ten games, finishing 26-18 overall, while facing a Big Ten-only schedule during the COVID-affected season. After starting the season 4-8, Iowa rattled off 11 wins in 12 contests and 15 in 18 games. The team won seven of their final 10 series to be in the middle of the NCAA Regional conversation at season’s end.
Friday night starter Trenton Wallace had a breakthrough season, earning second-team All-America honors by both ABCA/Rawlings and Collegiate Baseball. He also was the first Hawkeye to earn Big Ten Pitcher of the Year honors after going 7-1 with a 2.34 ERA over 73 innings and 13 starts. His 106 strikeouts were the second-most all-time behind Jim Magrane’s 110 strikeouts in 1999.
Senior Ben Norman earned first-team All-Big Ten and first-team all-region honors after leading the league in RBIs (53) and triples (4). Norman finished his career ranked in the top-11 in school history in eight different categories. Redshirt junior Izaya Fullard also earned All-Big Ten honors (third-team). Four players joined MLB organizations following the season, as Wallace and Drew Irvine were MLB Draft picks, while Norman and Jack Dreyer signed as undrafted free agents.
Gorzelanny helped lead Iowa to 10 wins in the first month of the 2020 season, including posting victories over ranked foes No. 18 Arizona, No. 20 North Carolina, and No. 14 Duke. The Hawkeyes went 2-1 at the CambriaCollegeClassic, a tournament in Minneapolis pitting the Big Ten Conference against the ACC. The season came to an abrupt end on March 12 when it was cancelled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Gorzelanny helped the team post 31 victories in 2019 – the program’s sixth straight 30-win season – and record a sixth straight Big Ten Tournament appearance. Iowa won six straight series during the regular season, which included series wins over No. 23 Illinois, No. 30 Nebraska, and No. 18 UC Irvine.
The Hawkeyes went 10-3 against top-30 opponents in 2019, including taking two of three games at No. 19 Oklahoma State.
Gorzelanny coached Grant Leonard to second-team All-Big Ten honors after the reliever set a program record, converting all 14 of his save chances. Leonard was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason List and he finished seventh nationally in saves.
After leading the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten Tournament win over top-seeded Indiana, Friday night starter Cole McDonald was selected in the 14th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Houston Astros. It marked the 13th straight year a Hawkeye was drafted.
Gorzelanny joined the Hawkeyes following a 12-year career in Major League Baseball where he pitched for Pittsburgh (five years), Chicago Cubs (two years), Washington (two years), Milwaukee (two years), Detroit (one year), and Cleveland (one year).
The left-handed pitcher finished his career with a 50-53 record with a 4.40 ERA over 314 appearances (121 starts). Gorzelanny’s best season came in 2007, where he went 14-10 with a 3.88 ERA, making 32 starts and logging more than 200 innings for the Pirates.
Gorzelanny retired from professional baseball in 2017.
Following his senior season at Marist (Illinois) High School, Gorzelanny was selected in the 38th round of the 2000 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox, but he elected to attend the University of Kansas. Gorzelanny spent two seasons in Lawrence — one as a redshirt — before transferring to Triton Community College.
After one season with the Trojans, Gorzelanny was drafted in the second round of the 2003 MLB Draft (45th overall pick) by Pittsburgh. He made his Major League debut in 2005 and played in the 2006 All-Star Futures Game.
Gorzelanny earned a regular spot in Pittsburgh’s rotation in 2007 — a season where he was a National League All-Star after being one of five players chosen from a final fan vote for the last spot on the NL roster.
Gorzelanny and his wife, Lindsey, reside in North Liberty with their two sons, Gavin and Connor.