Frank Leoni, the program’s inaugural leader, enters his fifth year as the Head Coach at Marymount in 2018. In just four years, Leoni has guided the Saints to the top of the highly competitive Capital Athletic Conference and visibility on the NCAA level.
The Saints won 20 or more games for the second-consecutive season in 2017. Overcoming the loss of three positional starters, they secured the #5 seed in the CAC standings. In the first round of the CAC tournament, the Saints knocked off #2 seed Christopher Newport in Newport News. Marymount is one of only four CAC teams to qualify for the post-season in each of the past three years. Junior Collin Bazemore and sophomore Conner Hall earned Second-team All-CAC honors. Off the field has been just as impressive for the Saints. Among their many community service efforts, the team has now raised over $30,000 to support Vs. Cancer and Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. For the second consecutive year, Marymount’s 3.2 GPA was recognized by the American Baseball Coaches Association with their Team Academic Award.
The 2016 season was a huge success. In only its third year of existence, Marymount came within two games of the NCAA tournament. Not only did they open CAC play with a seven game winning streak, the Saints played consistently throughout the season, securing the #2 seed in the CAC standings. In mid-April, Marymount was ranked #35 nationally. The Saints won six games versus nationally ranked opponents, including their first ever post-season victory, 11-3 over then #14 ranked Christopher Newport. They would eventually bow out of the CAC play-offs after two one-run losses to #11 ranked Salisbury. Marymount led the CAC in pitching, and two of their starting pitchers (Collin Bazemore, 1st team and Dylan Gerdts, 2nd team) were named All-CAC for the first time in program history. Freshman Luke Tyree earned CAC Player of the Week accolades on two occasions. The Saints were successful off the field as well, earning the inaugural ABCA Team Academic Award for maintaining a 3.2 GPA. Only 33of 383 NCAA Division III programs were recognized. Leoni earned his 500th collegiate victory on March 21, 2016 in a win versus St. Mary’s. As a result of the team’s success, Leoni was recognized as the 2016 Capital Athletic Conference and ECAC South Region Coach of the Year.
In 2014, the program had a modestly successful first season when it started at least seven freshmen. The 2015 team doubled its win total from the previous year, finishing fourth in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) standings and capturing the program’s first-ever bid to the CAC Baseball Championship. Along the way, the 2015 edition won three games against nationally-ranked opponents (#2 Frostburg State University twice and #6 Shenandoah University), while its strength of schedule ranked 20th out of 380 NCAA DIII baseball programs.
In the summer of 2015, Leoni was the head coach (manager) of the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks of the prestigious Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL). The FCBL is a well-respected summer collegiate wooden bat league located in New England and comprised of players from all around the country and all collegiate divisions. The Sharks finished with a 34-20 record, capturing the FCBL regular-season championship. To date, three players from the 2015 team were either drafted or signed an MLB contract. For his efforts, Leoni was named 2015 FCBL Co-Manager of the Year.
Prior to Marymount, Leoni was a NCAA DI head coach for 20 seasons, compiling more than 460 victories at the College of William & Mary and the University of Rhode Island.
While at the College of William & Mary, the Tribe posted 196 wins in seven seasons, making Leoni the fastest coach to reach 100 victories in program history. He coached 24 All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) honorees, the 2007 CAA Player of the Year as well as the 2011 and 2012 CAA Pitchers of the Year. Six of his players garnered All-America honors and 10 earned All-Region accolades. Additionally, 14 of the players Leoni coached and/or recruited signed professional contracts, including two top-10 round MLB draft picks. The 2008 squad set a school record with four MLB draft picks. As a team, Leoni’s squads at W&M led the CAA in hitting in both 2007 and 2008 with the 2008 team ranking third nationally. The 2007, 2008 and 2010 teams topped the league in fielding, while the 2012 Tribe led the CAA in earned-run average and ranked 14th nationally.
Leoni took the helm at the University of Rhode Island in September of 1992 as the youngest Division I head coach in the nation, inheriting a program that went 8-25-1 the year before and was set for elimination. He turned the program around using extremely limited resources and won 266 games during his time in Kingston, then a program record. Under Leoni, the Rams won three-consecutive Atlantic 10 Eastern Division titles (2003-2005) and the 2004 and 2005 A-10 regular-season championships. In 2005, URI secured its first Atlantic 10 conference championship and NCAA postseason berth in program history. He coached two A-10 Pitchers of the Year, one A-10 Rookie and Player of the Year, and six All-Americans. Furthermore, 13 of his players signed professional contracts, including two top-10 round MLB draft picks. Leoni was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004, and the New England Coach of the Year in 2004. He was named to the Rhode Island Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
Helping coaches develop is a source of great pride for Leoni. Five of his former assistants have gone on to have successful head coaching careers, including Jim Foster, formerly of URI and now Head Coach at Army West Point after helping Boston College to its first-ever Super Regional in 2016, John LaRose at Johnson & Wales University, Jad Prachniak at the helm of the 2012 and 2017 NCAA DII National Champions West Chester University, Adam Taylor formerly of Franklin & Marshall College and Raphael Cerrato at URI. Most recently, the 2015 Saints' pitching coach, Pat Pinkman, accepted the same role at Seton Hall University after holding the Pitching Coach duties at Fordham University. And, current Saints' assistant, Mike Cassidy, was the head coach for the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks in 2016 and 2017.
Leoni graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a B.S. in Accounting in 1990 and earned his Master's degree in Business Administration from URI in 2003. He, his wife Michelle and their four children, Ryan (18), Karsen (16), Nathan (16), and Casey (13), reside in Stafford, Virginia.