By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The University of Pennsylvania has a new head baseball coach and if you are a fan of the program, it’s a very familiar name.
John Yurkow had spent the past seven years as the top assistant for the Quakers.
“It’s extremely exciting,” Yurkow tells KYW Newsradio. “I think this is a great opportunity, I’ve had the chance to spend some time here, the last seven years, as an assistant coach. I think it’s a great place to work, I think we have great kids, a very supportive administration and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Penn went 22-21 in 2013 (7-13 in the Ivy League) and Yurkow says he is inheriting a squad with a lot of talent.
“Usually when you take over a program and a job opens up, you’re taking that program over because it can be a bit of a mess,” Yurkow says. “This is a unique situation, and one of the reasons why I was so interested in staying on here. We finished a game above .500 last year, we only had three seniors. So we were very young last year and we didn’t have a bad year. It’s kind of interesting moving forward here, I’m really excited about the group we have. We have an excellent, excellent, freshman class coming in. So looking at what we have coming in and the guys returning, this is set up to really be competitive here.”
This will be Yurkow’s first head coaching job and he hopes to put his stamp on the program.
“My hope is for our guys to be ultra-aggressive in all phases of the game,” Yurkow says. “I want to create an atmosphere where guys just feel like they can just go, go, go all the time and not really have to worry about failure. I think this is a sport where you fail a lot, especially as a hitter. I think as an all-star you’re making seven outs out of ten at-bats and you’re hitting .300 and that’s still considered pretty good. So we have to learn how to deal with that I think a little bit better. But yeah, I want out guys to be ultra-aggressive in everything we do and just really attack the game. And I think we have the type of kid here that will flourish with that mentality.”
Yurkow played his college baseball at Division III Rowan University down in Glassboro, New Jersey, where he was a four-year starter at second base. He replaces John Cole in his new position with the Quakers. Cole did not have his contract renewed after eight seasons.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.