WHEELING, W.Va., July 13, 2017 - Wheeling Jesuit University has selected former Cardinals assistant coach, Dan Abbenante, as the new head coach of baseball. He is just the second head coach in the program's history.
After serving as assistant coach for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Abbenante takes over the Cardinals baseball program with a lot of potential. The Monroeville, Pennsylvania native helped now-retired head coach Terry Edwards recruit many of the current WJU players and can now continue to guide and nurture those student-athletes.
We are excited to have Dan join the team as our next head baseball coach at WJU. His experience as a player and coach, and his passion for Jesuit's mission of forming students for lives of leadership and service make him a great fit. I look forward to seeing how he builds on the solid foundation set by Coach Edwards moving into this next season, said Dan Dentino, WJU Vice President of Student Services.
I want to thank everyone involved in the hiring process at Wheeling Jesuit for this opportunity. It is truly an honor to be able to come back to WJU as the head baseball coach, said Abbenante. I am ready to begin an incredible journey with a special group of student-athletes. I am truly blessed to be able to do something that I am so passionate about; not everyone gets to say they love what they do.
Since leaving WJU following the 2016 season, Abbenante has the Midwest Region Director of Operations for USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS). He also served as both the Assistant Director of Player Development/Head Coach 17-and-under Team All-American squad and Task Force Member of USA Baseball NTIS Ohio Valley Region (Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio) for the last year.
In those three positions, Abbenante worked with the Team All-American program providing individual and group lessons, and helped instruction through all-age practices. With Task Force, Abbenante helped run showcase-style formatted evaluations on players.
During his time on the Cardinals coaching staff, Abbenante was the recruiting coordinator, as well as the team's hitting, base running and outfield coach. He guided the WJU squad to a Mountain East Conference-leading 75 stolen bases - 11 more than any other team in the MEC in 2015. He coordinated the Cardinals NCAA compliance matters and set up individual preseason workouts.
The game of baseball is a sport that challenges each player emotionally, physically and mentally; it is a sport that is set up for you to fail. Where I believe I can help the team is by creating an environment where our focus and energy is devoted to what the team can control day in and day out, added Abbenante. I look forward to being able to bring a lot of passion, energy and effort to the Cardinal Baseball Program and our players.
As a player, Abbenante was a four-year member at Seton Hill University baseball team. With the Griffins, the team had 40-plus win each of his four years. During his playing days, the team made four NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional appearances and one NCAA Division II World Series trip. Abbenante earned 2013 Atlantic Regional All-Tournament team honors.
My immediate goal is to bring a structure to this program. I hope to be able to put each player in a position where he can develop on the field and in the class room. My main goal is for each player to be able to walk away from WJU knowing that he has reached his potential at the university. With that, I will look to the 2017-18 Cardinals to set a standard for the future classes to follow. I hope to grow a baseball program that the city of Wheeling will fall in love with.