John Szefc will begin his third season at Kansas as the team's hitting coach as well as the recruiting coordinator. He also works with the team's outfielders,handles base running instructionand serves as the third base coach.
In his first two seasons in Lawrence, Szefc helped lead the Jayhawks to back-to-back Big 12 Championship appearance an NCAA Tournament in the Chapel Hill region in 2009. KU advanced to the championship round by knocking off Dartmouth and Coastal Carolina before falling to eventual College World Series participant North Carolina.
Despite injuries to key players, Szefc's team improved its batting average for the second-straight season, ending 2010 with a .304 mark. In Big 12 games, KU posted a .305 average, which ranked second in the league - behind only Texas Tech. The Jayhawks also led the league in base hits (304) and finished second in runs (195) and walks (115) during conference play.
Following the season, KU had three position players drafted in outfielder Brian Heere, second baseman Robby Price and third baseman Tony Thompson. Heere and Price recorded season highs in several offensive categories in 2010, while Thompson batted .359 in Big 12 games after missing the first seven weeks of the season with an injury.
The offense showed marked improvement under Szefc's guidance in 2009, raising its batting average by 14 points to .301, and scoring 68 more runs than they did in the previous season. The Jayhawks also boasted the Big 12's first Triple Crown winner in Tony Thompson, who led the league in batting average (.389), homers (21) and RBIs (82).
KU's offense ranked third in the Big 12 in batting average (.301) and fourth in on-base percentage (.388). KU was also one of just four teams in the Big 12 to have more runs scored than strikeouts.
Kansas also boasted three of the top six hitters in the conference: Thompson (.389), Brian Heere (.364) and David Narodowski (.354). Heere, Narodowski and catcher Buck Afenir were either drafted or signed professional contracts in the summer of 2009.
Prior to accepting the position at KU, Szefc was the head assistant coach at Louisiana-Lafayette for six years. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the Ragin' Cajuns recruiting efforts, instructing hitters and infielders and coaching third base. Szefc also handled scheduling for the program. After arriving in Lafayette, his work with the offense produced steady results. He helped the team reach the NCAA Tournament twice (2005 and 2007) during his time there.
After finishing with a .267 team batting average in 2002, the Cajuns jumped to .277 in Szefc's first season (2003) and followed that with a dramatic 32-point jump in leading the Sun Belt Conference in 2004 with a .309 team mark.
During the Cajuns' Sun Belt Championship season in 2005, the offense dominated most of the conference and showed up nationally in major statistical categories. Louisiana finished eighth in the nation in hitting (.327), 10th in runs scored (551), 17th in slugging percentage (.495) and 23rd in doubles (155). In the conference, the Cajuns led the Sun Belt in hitting, runs scored, hits, doubles and triples. Freshman catcher Jonathan Lucroy hit .379 and was named to the 2005 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team.
Louisiana had three hitters drafted in 2005: third baseman Dallas Morris (24th round, Anaheim Angels); first baseman Phillip Hawke (29th round, Texas Rangers); and catcher Justin Morgan (39th round, Chicago Cubs).
Before arriving at ULL, Szefc was the head coach at Marist College for seven seasons. He posted a 212-137-1 record as the skipper for the Red Foxes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, including a school-record 41 wins in 2002. His team also won the 2002 MAAC regular season crown. In just his second season, Szefc led Marist to its first baseball title in 1997 as a member of the Northeast Conference. His team went 32-19, winning both the regular season and tournament titles, and reached the NCAA Tournament. For his efforts, Szefc was named NEC Coach of the Year.
He also led the Red Foxes to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2000 and 2001, earning ABCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year honors in 2001.
Before his arrival at Marist, Szefc spent one season with Sacred Heart University and four years as an assistant coach with his alma mater, Drexel, from 1990-94.
Szefc managed the New York Generals in the Atlantic College Baseball League (ACBL) during the summers of 1995 and 1996, guiding the club to a 47-28 record in two seasons, two consecutive Kaiser Division championships and the ACBL championship game in 1996.
He graduated from Drexel University in 1989. He played his first two years of college baseball at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., before transferring in 1987. During his senior campaign with the Dragons, he was tabbed an All-East Coast Conference outfielder.
Szefc also holds a master's degree in Sports Administration from Temple University. He and his wife Barbara, have a daughter, Anna (5), and two sons, John Michael (3) and Sam (1).