John Szefc’s departure from the Maryland baseball program on June 9 prompted a search across the nation for his replacement. But the Terps found their man already on their staff.
The team officially announced hitting coach Rob Vaughn as its new head coach on Thursday, one week after his hire was first reported by D1Baseball’s Aaron Fitt.
Vaughn came to Maryland with Szefc prior to the 2013 season; he had previously been a volunteer assistant under Szefc for two years at Kansas State. Shortly after joining the Terps, Vaughn was named assistant coach; he was promoted to associate head coach after the 2016 season.
There were some rumors that Vaughn would follow Szefc to Blacksburg, and it’s unclear if he would have stayed with the Terps as an assistant, but those discussions are moot now.
This move suggests that the Terps are looking for continuity with the program, which makes plenty of sense. Maryland made the NCAA Tournament three times in Szefc’s five years after being left out for over four decades. The Terps have the nation’s No. 21 recruiting class for 2018, and Vaughn played a key role in that.
It’s still unclear what Vaughn will be working with in his first season as head coach. Six Maryland players were selected in this week’s MLB Draft, and at least Smith and Shaffer are widely expected to sign with their teams and start pro careers. Three of Maryland’s 10 commits for 2017 were also drafted this week.
But this is a program that was almost killed off at the start of the decade and is now blossoming into a perennial postseason contender. While Szefc’s role in this turnaround can’t be overstated, Vaughn has been a crucial part of it as well, and he’s earned a chance to lead Maryland’s continued renaissance.
This story was initially published on June 15 after Vaughn’s hire was reported. It has been updated after the official announcement.