GREENVILLE, N.C. - Former Pirate standout Nick Schnabel has been named assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, while will also serving as infield instructor at East Carolina University according to an announcement from head baseball coach Billy Godwin Tuesday.
Prior to his appointment at ECU, Schnabel served as the hitting instructor, recruiting coordinator and third base coach at Liberty University for the past two seasons where the Flames compiled a 68-47-1 overall record that included a pair of appearances in the Big South Conference Championship game.
“Our baseball program is excited about Coach Schnabel rejoining the Pirate family,” said Godwin. “With his recruiting experience, knowledge of the game, ability to develop players along with his passion and understanding of ECU’s history, we believe this addition is going to help us reach our goal of playing in the College World Series in Omaha.”
Under Schnabel’s tutelage, Liberty hitters ranked among the top three in the Big South in 10 offensive categories including average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs, hits, RBI, doubles, home runs, total bases and fielding percentage.
”I am very excited about the opportunity of returning to ECU,” said Schnabel. “Coming back to Greenville and being part of the Pirate baseball family is something I have been thinking about for a while. Coach Godwin and the East Carolina program are well respected around the country and I’m thankful for the opportunity to work alongside such a great staff and help lead ECU to its first trip to Omaha.
”I would also like to thank Coach Jim Toman and Liberty University for a great opportunity and experience over the last two years.”
The 2009 season saw the Flames reach the 30-win plateau for the fifth consecutive season after posting a 33-21 record. Freshman Tyler Bream became the third player in school history named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America after ranking third in the Big South with 57 RBI. The third baseman finished his rookie season batting .337 with eight home runs, 16 doubles and scored 35 runs in 46 games played.
Joining Bream in post-season honors were junior outfielder Curran Redal, who earned first-team all-conference accolades after leading the team with a .380 average, 81 hits and 50 runs scored, all ranking among the league leaders. Senior catcher Errol Hollinger was named second-team All-Big South for the second straight year and signed a free-agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks in June.
During his initial season, Schnabel helped the Flames to a 35-26-1 overall record. The Flames established a new school record with 155 doubles, ranking fifth in the country, while also ranking 23rd in the nation in double plays turned with 60. In addition, he helped two Liberty hitters post their best seasons at the plate. Senior David Giammaresi improved his batting average 39 points from the previous year to .347 in his final season to lead the Flames and finish among the Big South leaders in the category. Meanwhile, junior Cody Brown hit .341 in 2008, a 45-point improvement, while finishing among the conference leaders in doubles (21), RBIs (52) and total bases (125).
Schnabel came to Liberty after two seasons as an assistant coach at the U.S. Military Academy. He served as the team’s hitting instructor, while working with the Cadet infielders and overseeing the club’s defensive alignment.
In 2006, Schnabel’s first season at West Point, the Black Knights posted their third consecutive 30-plus victory season, winning 17 of their last 21 contests to finish the season at 30-20-1 overall. His last season with the program, Army advanced to its third Patriot League title game in four years. Meanwhile, Schnabel gained a reputation as a tireless recruiter, leading Army’s national recruiting effort with an emphasis on the East Coast.
As Army’s hitting instructor, Schnabel played a large role in a pair of Black Knight players – Milan Dinga and Cole White – earning All-Patriot League and regional honors.
In 2006, Dinga was named to the Pro-Line Cap All-America Team presented by The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Northeast Region second team. The first-team All-Patriot League outfielder led Army in nine offensive categories, including a .385 batting average and a .621 slugging percentage. Dinga established a new Academy record when he registered a 25-game hitting streak during the season. The outfielder/relief pitcher closed out his career with 257 hits and 356 total bases, both school and Patriot League marks.
Dinga was one of two Cadets picked in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Draft in June 2006. He was selected in the 10th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, while teammate Nick Hill was picked in the seventh round by the Seattle Mariners.
In 2007, White was named the Patriot League Player of the Year and to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Northeast Region first team, after capturing the league’s batting title with a .408 average. The outfielder/pitcher also led Patriot League hitters in total bases (103) and slugging percentage (.575). In addition, White was named first team All-Patriot League each of Schnabel’s two seasons at West Point, becoming the first player to earn league honors at three different positions (outfielder, first base and pitcher).
A 2000 graduate of East Carolina, where he lettered twice as the Pirates’ starting second baseman under former Pirate skipper Keith LeClair, Schnabel began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach in charge of the infield and assisted with hitting instruction at his alma mater in 2004. That season, East Carolina won a school-record 51 games and competed in the NCAA Super Regional in Columbia, S.C. The Pirates finished the season listed eighth in the country with a .975 fielding percentage and posted a .318 team batting average.
The following summer, Schnabel was named an assistant coach at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., where he filled the roles of infield instructor, assistant hitting instructor and academic monitor in 2005. On the field that season, the Indians captured the Panhandle Conference Championship and went on to finish second in the state of Florida, reaching the state championship game.
As a player, the first-team Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) selection was named CAA Defensive Player-of-the-Year in 1999 and helped the Pirates to consecutive league championships and No. 1 NCAA Regional seeds in 1999 and 2000. Schnabel began his collegiate career at Ohlone College in Fremont, Calif., where he was a first-team all-conference performer and preseason Junior College All-American.
Following graduation, Schnabel spent four years in the Montreal Expos organization (2000-03), navigating his way through five levels of the farm system. He concluded his professional playing career with the 2003 Brevard County Mantees. Schnabel was part of the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, which reached the Eastern League Finals in 2002.
Schnabel is married to the former Emily Gail Cox.