Maryland baseball assistant coach Rob Vaughn has been named head coach of the program, a source confirmed Thursday, giving the Terps continuity with the most successful era in school history after the departure of John Szefc.
Vaughn, whose hire was first reported by D1Baseball.com, served for the past five years under Szefc, who on Friday took the head job at Virginia Tech after a historic tenure in College Park. Since 2014, Maryland has advanced to the NCAA tournament three times and won its first two NCAA regional titles.
After two seasons coaching at Kansas State, his alma mater, Vaughn took an assistant role on Szefc's first Terps staff and was promoted to associate head coach last year. He has overseen the team's offense, which in 2015 posted one of the best seasons in program history, and recruiting, landing the highest-rated class in Maryland history that same year.
Vaughn also is credited with having coached two All-Americans and 26 players who have been drafted or signed professional contracts in his career.
"I can't tell you enough good things about the guy," Szefc told The Diamondback, Maryland's student newspaper, in May. "He's as good as they come."
At 29, he's also nearly as young as they come. New Orleans coach Blake Dean, then 28, was the youngest coach in the country in 2016, and only the Terps' first baseball coach, Curley Byrd, was also under 30 at the time of his hiring. (The school's eventual university president was in his mid-20s when he was named coach of the Maryland track and baseball teams in 1913.)
A catcher on the first Kansas State team to advance to the NCAA tournament, Vaughn spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons in the Chicago White Sox organization after being drafted in the 30th round. He returned to the Wildcats as a student assistant coach in 2010 and was promoted to volunteer assistant coach before the 2011 season.
At Kansas State, he embraced "The Pack," a hitting philosophy built on three pillars: toughness, approach and intensity. "Every single hitter in 'The Pack' has a role," his Maryland biography notes. "Some run, some drive in runs, some are masters of execution and some do all three, but they all know their role."
The Terps won a program-record 42 games in 2015 behind their strong rotation and bullpen and Vaughn's newly explosive offense. Maryland ranked second in the Big Ten Conference in home runs, doubles and triples that season, as well as first in walks and hits by pitch.
After a disappointing 2016, the offense rebounded this season, again ranking among the league's more powerful teams while finishing 13th nationally in stolen bases.
With Szefc's departure — his Hokies contract reportedly will pay him $400,000 annually in base salary, nearly $150,000 more than he earned at Maryland — the Terps will move on to their third coach in nine years, and their second as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
Vaughn is expected to fill his staff with a mix of internal candidates and outside hires, and although the Terps likely will lose Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Brian Shaffer (North Harford) and shortstop Kevin Smith to the pros, the team could bring back three Big Ten honorees. Conference Freshman of the Year Tyler Blohm (Archbishop Spalding), a starting left-hander, and sophomore third baseman AJ Lee, a third-team All-Big Ten pick, are set to return. Sophomore right fielder Marty Costes (Archbishop Curley), a first-team selection, could boost his stock after falling to the 25th round of this week's major league draft.