College Notebook: Baseball America Names Stiffler Nation’s 4th-Best Coach Under 40

December 6 - Shawn Stiffler was named today as one of the country’s top college head coaches under the age of 40, listed at No. 4 by Baseball America.

Now in his seventh year as the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University, Stiffler has led the Rams to a 224-144 overall record and five straight seasons with 34 or more victories. In 2015, he led the program to the Atlantic-10 Conference championship and its first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance.

The 39-year-old skipper pitched at George Mason from 1998-2001 and served on Patriots coach Bill Brown’s staff from 2002-06 before joining the Rams program as their pitching coach in 2007. He served in that capacity until becoming VCU’s interim coach for the final 21 game in 2012 when the late Paul Keyes stepped down due to health issues.

Stiffler was preceded on the list by Central Florida’s Greg Lovelady, Kent State’s Jeff Duncan and Southeastern Louisiana’s Matt Riser. Listed behind the Rams coach was Indiana’s Jeff Mercer, Hartford’s Justin Blood, UC Irvine’s Ben Orloff, Nevada’s T.J. Bruce, Alabama State’s Jose Vazquez and Davidson’s Rucker Taylor.

The list was compiled by Baseball America for the first time since 2012. Here’s the link to the story.

Marymount’s Outreach and Leadership Initiative Yields “7 Days of Service” Over Fall, Holiday Season

This fall and holiday season the Marymount program has taken to the Arlington and surrounding community with its “7 Days of Service” community outreach and leadership development initiative.

As part of the program, the Saints were split into seven groups, each tasked with planning an event and coordinating with a partner organization.

Over the past three months, Marymount has partnered on the following events: with C.R.i. (Choice. Respect. independence) as volunteers in and around the residence; the American Heart Association at the Greater Washington Heart Walk; the Washington Nationals Youth Academy’s after-school program; with Vs. Cancer, where many players and coaches shaved their heads in support of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and the team raised over $9,000; hosted a youth camp with Arlington Little League and Arlington Travel Baseball; and a food drive leading up to Thanksgiving.

In recent weeks, the Saints have supported the efforts of the annual toy drive held by Arlington-based Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), which had donation boxes placed throughout Northern Virginia. Marymount’s program donated over 75 toys to the drive, which supports children of incarcerated parents through OAR’s Project Christmas Angel program.

Toys can be donated through Dec. 16 at OAR’s offices located at 1400 N. Uhle Street, Suite 704 in Arlington. Donations for the program’s Vs. Cancer fundraiser can also still be made by visiting its fundraising page here.

Riverdogs to Cease Play in Cal Ripken Collegiate Summer League

The Loudoun Riverdogs, who have played the past eight summers in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, will not return for the 2019 season, team founder and manager Bruce Hall has confirmed.

They are one of three teams that have dropped out of the league, joining the Rockville Express and the Baltimore Redbirds, who have been one of the CRCBL’s model clubs for the past decade.

Established in the fall of 2009, the Riverdogs played as a barnstorming collegiate team in 2010 and joined the CRCBL in 2011. They played their home games for the first six seasons at Madison High School in Vienna before moving operations to Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn prior to the 2017 season.

The club compiled a 148-178 overall regular season record and earned playoff berths in 2012 and 2015. The Riverdogs, who also posted a winning campaign in 2014, finished 11-29 this past season, their worst since joining the league. Hall, who has served as the team’s owner, general manager and manager, is relocating to North Carolina with his wife, Carol.

The league’s championship has been won by either the Bethesda Big Train or the Redbirds in each of the past 10 seasons.

Photo of Shawn Stiffler courtesy of VCU Athletics