Alabama hires Vaughn from Maryland, Terps promotes Swope

Baltimore Sun

Rob Vaughn, who revitalized Maryland's baseball program and turned the Terps into one of the Big Ten Conference's best, has left after six seasons to fill the head-coaching vacancy at Alabama.

Maryland moved quickly to find his replacement and named Matt Swope, a 2003 graduate who had been an assistant in College Park for the past 11 years and Vaughn's associate head coach for the past two seasons, the new coach. Swope will be the program's ninth head coach since it began competition in 1893.

Vaughn, 35, won 183 games, fifth-most in school history. His winning percentage of .610 (183-117) trails only John Szefc's .696 rate (180-122) from 2013 to 2017. Vaughn had been an assistant coach under Szefc.

"I could not be more excited to join the Alabama Crimson Tide," Vaughn said in a written statement distributed by the school. "The culture, the people and the program speak for themselves. Watching the team from afar, I could tell just how special it is, and I cannot wait to get started and help get this group get back to Omaha."

Vaughn guided the Terps to back-to-back Big Ten regular-season titles and the conference tournament championship last month for the first time in history. The program was the first to capture two straight crowns since Indiana did so in 2013 and 2014, and Vaughn was voted Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2022 and 2023.

Under Vaughn, Maryland earned three straight berths in the NCAA Regional for the first time. With 42 victories this past spring and 48 the previous year, the team compiled at least 40 wins in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 2014 and 2015 teams won 40 and 42 games, respectively.

"I want to thank Rob Vaughn for his 10 years at Maryland as he has lifted the Terrapin program to heights we have never seen before," athletic director Damon Evans said in a news release from the university. "Rob led us to back-to-back Big Ten Championships and claimed both the Big Ten regular-season title and tournament crown this past season. During his 10 years with the Terps, we appeared in six NCAA Regionals, an unprecedented era in program history, and hosted the first-ever NCAA Regional in school history, last season. We wish Rob and his family the very best in their move to Tuscaloosa."

In Swope, Maryland has turned to a graduate who becomes the first to lead his alma mater since Tom Bradley, who graduated in 1972 and helmed the program from 1991 to 2000 and recruited Swope to the university. Swope, who grew up in New Carrollton and graduated from DeMatha, ranks second in program history in hits (253) and runs scored (181), fifth in walks (106) and ninth in RBIs (135).

"This is truly a dream come true, to be named the head baseball coach at the University of Maryland," said Swope, who was director of operations from 2013 to 2017 and an assistant coach from 2017 to 2022. "Growing up just down the road from College Park, then playing for the Terps, returning to join the staff, and now being able to lead the Terps is something that means the world to me. I love this place and will work tirelessly to continue the winning ways we have made the standard for Maryland baseball. There is so much to be proud of and I can't wait to coach that first game on Shipley Field at Bob ‘Turtle' Smith Stadium as the head coach of the Maryland Terrapins."

Said Evans: "Matt has been a vital part of the most successful era in Maryland baseball history, one where we set numerous records. He has been directly responsible for our offensive explosion over the last three years as we set records for runs scored, home runs, hits, RBI, slugging percentage, and walks. Being a hometown guy, I know what this means to Matt, being able to lead his beloved Terrapins. We are excited to welcome Matt and his family in this new role as we look to continue the wonderful momentum Maryland baseball has built in recent years."

Vaughn is the third straight Maryland coach to leave for other pastures. Erik Bakich (70-98 from 2010 to 2012) was hired away by Michigan, and Szefc (180-122) was wooed away by Virginia Tech.

At Alabama, Vaughn succeeds Brad Bohannon, who was fired May 4 "for, among other things, violating the standards, duties and responsibilities expected of University employees," the university announced. The dismissal occurred on the heels of "alleged suspicious activity" on April 28 at a sportsbook in Cincinnati, according to an Ohio Casino Control Commission investigation cited by ESPN.

Vaughn inherits a Crimson Tide squad that won 40 games for the first time since 2010 and was the No. 16 seed in the NCAA Regional, hosted a regional for the first time since 2006 and advanced to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2010. They were swept in a best-of-three series by No. 1 seed Wake Forest.

June 12, 2023

D1SN Viribus 10-15