GREENVILLE, N.C. – Jeff Palumbo, a nine-year coaching veteran at the Division I level, has been named assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at East Carolina University according to an announcement by head coach Cliff Godwin Thursday.
Following coaching stints at George Mason (2006-08), UCF (2009-11) and Virginia Commonwealth (2012-14), Palumbo will oversee all aspects of the Pirates’ recruiting efforts, serve as the base running and infield coach, while assisting Godwin with the hitters.
“Jeff is considered by many in our profession as one of the best recruiters in the country,” Godwin said. “He is a rising star in the college coaching profession, one of the best infield coaches I have ever worked with, and will do a tremendous job developing any infielder in our program. He is a tireless worker and we are very fortunate that Jeff is a part of our baseball program.”
During the last three seasons with the Rams, Palumbo has mentored three ABCA/Rawlings All-East Region and six all-conference selections, while helping the program rank among the NCAA leaders in seven key statistical categories.
In 2014, Palumbo’s club saw a dramatic increase in its offensive numbers from the year before where they stood among the Atlantic 10 (top-3) and NCAA (top-50) leaders in scoring (6.3 rpg/29th), runs (357/33rd), average (.292/36th), hits (589/38th) and on-base percentage (.373/47th). Five players earned All Atlantic-10 honors and were led offensively by a quartet of second-team performers in Chris Ayers, Bill Cullen, Joey Cujas and Vimael Machin.
As the infield instructor at VCU, Palumbo’s clubs ranked either first or second in the conference in fielding percentage, which included a No. 7 national standing in 2013 (.980). Over the course of three seasons, the Rams boasted an impressive .975 fielding clip.
In 2011, Palumbo helped guide UCF to a 39-23 record – its best since 2005 – and its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in seven years with a No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee Regional. The Knights also posted their best Conference USA finish (fourth) since joining the league in 2006.
Regarded as one of the top fielding coaches in the country, Palumbo's 2011 UCF squad shattered the school's single-season record with a .978 fielding percentage, committing only 53 errors in 62 games, and ranking ninth nationally. Behind strong defense, including a stretch of eight-straight games without recording an error, the Knights posted two wins each over Florida, Stetson and Rice, in addition to victories against Florida State and Alabama.
Palumbo has been outstanding on the recruiting trail during his time as an assistant coach. Under the direction of first-year skipper Terry Rooney in 2009, Palumbo and the Knights put together Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's fourth-ranked recruiting class and followed with the nation's 20th-best class heading into the 2011 season. Those rankings were the highest-ever in program history.
The staff's recruiting efforts quickly paid off as the 2010 squad won 33 games despite being the only team in the country to have five freshmen make at least 35 starts, including three infielders. That same season, Palumbo's infield turned a school-record 61 double plays, ranking among the nation's top-10 in that category. Not only did the Knights possess solid defense, but they also turned heads at the plate setting school and Conference USA marks with a .343 batting average and .435 on-base percentage. Further, UCF set program records with 78 homers and a .538 slugging percentage.
During his time with the Knights, Palumbo coached two Louisville Slugger All-Americans, a Golden Spikes Award finalist, a pair of Freshman All-Americans, a Conference USA Freshman-of-the-Year and two first team all-conference honorees.
A native of Bowie, Md., Palumbo is no stranger to the Colonial Athletic Association having played at George Mason from 2001-04 before serving as an assistant coach with the Patriots from 2006-08.
He spent three seasons as the program's recruiting coordinator and hitting coach, and oversaw a defense that finished with a .970 fielding percentage – second in the league – during his final season in 2008, while posting a third-place conference finish, a .311 team batting average and 63 home runs.
During his time at George Mason, Palumbo helped guide four players into the professional ranks including three-time all-conference honoree and ABCA All-East Region selection Scott Krieger, as well as Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Justin Bour.
A two-time CAA Defensive Player and Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year selection, Palumbo finished his career as the Patriots all-time leader in hits (283), at-bats (865), games played (218) and games started (217), while ranking among the top-10 in runs, stolen bases, total bases, RBI and walks. During his senior campaign, he led the nation in runs scored per game (1.4), hit a career-best .402 and led the Patriots to an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament – the program's first appearance since 1993. Palumbo was selected in the15th-round round by the San Francisco Giants in the 2004 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and was later named a Northwest League All-Star with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.
In 2010 he was selected as a member of the CAA’s Silver Anniversary team.
Palumbo, a 2004 graduate of George Mason, and his wife Sarah have one son, Grayson. Palumbo graduated cum laude receiving his degree in administration of justice.