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Anne Arundel Community College hires former Howard High coach Nick Hoffner to lead baseball program

Nick Hoffner, seen as baseball coach at Howard High in March 2019, has been named head coach at Anne Arundel Community College.
Nick Hoffner, seen as baseball coach at Howard High in March 2019, has been named head coach at Anne Arundel Community College. (Doug Kapustin / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Nick Hoffner is well aware of the heartbreak he has caused to certain communities in Anne Arundel County in recent years.

As the varsity baseball coach at Howard High for the past 10 seasons, Hoffner was at the helm of some of the most dramatic wins in recent Maryland high school baseball history.

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Howard in 2017 overcame a two-run deficit with two outs to hand Severna Park a devastating 4-3 loss in a Class 4A state semifinal game. But that paled in comparison with the 2018 championship game, during which Hoffner’s Lions trailed 4-1 entering the seventh inning and rallied for a 5-4 walk-off title victory.

“Hopefully they’ll forget about that,” said Hoffner, who last week was named head baseball coach at Anne Arundel Community College, “and hopefully we can get to work over there and start doing some good things, and we’ll leave those things further in the past, right?”

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Hoffner, who amassed a 117-68 record during his tenure with the Lions, hopes to have similar track record of success at the college level. From 2015-19, Howard went 87-28 with two state championship appearances, and Hoffner was the 2018 Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches State and District 5 Coach of the Year and the American Baseball Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year (High School Division I).

“I am pleased to welcome coach Hoffner to Riverhawk Nation and am thrilled by his eagerness to get started with our program,” AACC athletic director Duane Herr wrote in a news release. “Coach Hoffner brings a history of success in building winning programs and has accomplished the highest level of success in his previous role. I’m most excited about his demonstrated commitment to supporting the development, growth and success of student-athletes.”

The Riverhawks have gone 35-63 since the start of 2018 and haven’t had a winning season since 2012, when they went 40-16 under then-coach Dave Fletcher.

“Coaching college baseball has always been something I’ve wanted to do,” Hoffner said. “It’s actually something I almost did right after college after I got done playing, but I decided to start coaching high school baseball and obviously enjoyed every minute of it and I loved it.”

Hoffner, 36, said he applied for the opening at AACC and grew more intrigued the deeper he got into the process. He noted the hotbed of talent throughout the area that he can build a successful program around.

“I’m trying to recruit good kids that want an opportunity to play college baseball, that has a desire to come out here and work and get better and improve while furthering their education as well,” Hoffner said. “The kids that love to play the game and want to work hard.”

Leaving a Howard program he built to become one of the best in the state “was not easy,” Hoffner said, especially after the spring season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I felt we did a lot of really good things there as far as building a winning culture and just an expectation on how we want to go about things and getting better day in and day out,” he said. “It was definitely tough to break the news to the kids.”

Before Howard, Hoffner coached the JV team at his alma mater, Mount Hebron. He was a four-year letter winner at Presbyterian College, serving as team captain his senior year, and he played summer ball in the New York College Baseball League and the Southern Collegiate Baseball League.

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