The search for the next head baseball coach at Southwestern Assemblies of God University was a short one, as the university announced the hire of Matt Cornacchione on Wednesday.
Cornacchione has spent the past nine seasons as head coach of NCAA Division II Nyack College and will become SAGU’s fifth head baseball coach since the program was resurrected in 2002.
"After visiting Waxahachie and SAGU it was clear to my family that this is where God is calling us,” Cornacchione said. “It was very obvious that this is a place where students can grow spiritually, get an excellent education, and have a great experience as a student-athlete."
Director of Athletics Jesse Godding stated, “During the interview process it became clear that Matt had the skills and talent necessary to fill the role of head baseball coach at SAGU."
"His denominational ties, academic degree, demonstrated spiritual formation efforts with players, and baseball background will allow him to lead the SAGU baseball program into a successful new era," Godding added. "We are pleased that Matt and his family are becoming part of SAGU.”
Cornacchione’s coaching career includes 13 years as a college baseball coach, including nine as head coach. During his head coaching tenure, Cornacchione has been twice named Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year and was voted National Christian College Athletic Association East Region Coach of the Year in 2012.
In 2012, Nyack completed the 2nd biggest turnaround nationally in NCAA Division II, moving from a 3-35 team in 2011 to a 26 win team in one years time.
"We will build a program that works to be worthy of success, both on and off the field," Cornacchione said. "I look forward to the challenge that is in front of us, and I'm excited to get started. I want to thank President Bridges, Terry Phipps, and Jesse Godding for making my family feel so welcome and giving me the opportunity to lead the baseball program here at SAGU.”
Cornacchione rebuilt a Nyack team that had 13 players when he inherited the job in 2009. His teams have appeared in an NCCAA World Series (2012) as well as five of the past seven CCAC playoffs (2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018).
While building a competitive program on the field, Cornacchione and his teams strove for excellence off the field as well. Academically, the baseball team achieved a cumulative team GPA of 3.13 in the spring 2018 semester, have won the CCAC Team Sportsmanship Award (2011, 2013, 2014) and consistently engaged community service projects. In January of 2015, Cornacchione led his team on a mission trip to Mexico.
Cornacchione holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Geneva College and a master’s degree in exercise science with an emphasis in sports administration from Montclair State University.
As a three-year starter at Geneva College, Cornacchione made starts for the Golden Tornadoes at six different positions including catcher, pitcher, third base, outfield, and designated hitter. In 2004 he was named a team captain and also received AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention, helping the Tornadoes to their first American Mideast Conference playoff appearance in school history, and a fourth-place finish at the NCCAA World Series.
Matt and his wife, Makayla, were married in 2011 and have one son, Pierce, born in 2017.
Information in the this article is courtesy SAGU and Nyack College Athletics.