John Pawlowski named head baseball coach

Photo courtesy of WKU Athletics. 

WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart announced John Pawlowski as the new head baseball coach on Thursday.

Pawlowski has signed a contract through June of 2019 that includes $160,000 base salary, a yearly evaluation in which he is subject to a base salary increase, and a span of bonus opportunities that range from athletic performance incentives as well as student performance incentives. 

The announcement comes roughly two and a half weeks after Stewart announced the university would not be retaining Matt Myers as head coach. 

“When we began our search the main goal was to find someone who was both experienced and a proven winner,” Stewart said.

Most recently Pawlowski served as associate head coach and pitching coach at San Diego State for two seasons. He has a combined 14 years of head coaching experience under his belt between Auburn (167-126 overall record) and College of Charleston (338-192 overall record)—tallying a 505-318 record as head coach.

“As the head coach at College of Charleston, John turned a regionally successful program into a nationally recognized one,” Stewart added. “As the head coach at Auburn, in the nation’s top baseball conference, John won 57 percent of his games, reached the NCAA tournament, and is currently the third winningest coach in Auburn history.”

At 51 Pawlowski has been surrounded by baseball his entire adult life.  After playing for Clemson, he played eigth years of professional baseball at the Minor and Major League levels before returning to Clemson as an assistant.  He also gained assistant coaching experience at Arizona State.  

Pawlowski arguably enters WKU as the most successful coach to stand at the helm.  In his time as head coach between Auburn and Charleston he accounted for four NCAA tournament appearances and one Super Regional appearance. Neither former WKU coaches Matt Myers nor Chris Finwood had an NCAA tournament appearance under their belt before taking the helm.

“In the first conversation I had with Todd, he made it very clear—the vision, the goals, and where he wanted to take this program and I was very intrigued,” Pawlowski said.

It wasn’t just the program’s ambition that brought Pawlowski to the Hill.  He was also anxious to work in the Conference USA.

“When you look at the move to go to Conference USA, I think that is a very attractive move for players, for recruits, for fans; it is just a tremendous conference… when I started doing my research I thought it was a great fit.”

Pawlowski has been to 11 NCAA tournaments as a head coach and assistant and has coached 75 players who’ve gone on to play professionally.