John Pawlowski recently completed his first year as the Pitching Coach at San Diego State University. The 2014 season was highlighted by the Aztecs winning the Mountain West Conference tournament and playing in the NCAA regionals hosted by University of Louisiana - Lafayette. The Aztecs won 42 games in 2014, the most since 2002 and the pitching staff ERA was 3.71, lowest since 1995. When SDSU hired John in 2013, Head Coach Tony Gwynn stated "John brings a wealth of experience with him to the position of pitching coach at San Diego State. We had a number of outstanding applicants and we feel John's the best fit for what we're trying to accomplish in our program. His experience as a pitcher at both the collegiate and Major League levels along with his time as a collegiate coach with nationally recognized programs makes him a valuable asset to our team." Previously, John's five seasons at Auburn made him the longest-tenured coach at Auburn since Hal Baird's 16-year run and the fourth-longest tenured overall. In 2013 he became the third-most winningest coach in Auburn history in terms of wins.
In five seasons at Auburn, the 14-year head-coaching veteran guided the team to a 167-127 (.568) record (505-318 overall) and took the program from six consecutive fifth- or sixth-place finishes in the Southeastern Conference's Western Division to a 2010 Division Championship, its first since 1995, and a 2010 NCAA Regional Host, winning 43 games during the remarkable and memorable 2010 campaign.
In addition, Pawlowski's ability to guide the team to four consecutive SEC Tournament appearances from 2010 through 2013 marked the first time Auburn had appeared in the conference tournament in consecutive seasons since it went for seven straight years from 1997-2003. It also moved Auburn into a rare category among SEC teams as it was one of only five Southeastern Conference programs to play in the conference tournament in each season from 2010-13 and one of just two from the SEC West.
Under Pawlowski's direction Auburn turned into a professional development factory as 25 players have been drafted out of Auburn over the past four seasons, the most in a four-year period in Auburn history. Thirteen of those draft picks had never before been selected and six went in the first 10 rounds. Auburn as a program has now had at least one player selected in 38 consecutive seasons, tied for the second-longest such streak in the SEC.
Auburn's 43 wins in 2010 were the seventh-most in school history and along with the wins came numerous accolades for the program, including the SEC Player of the Year (Hunter Morris), six All-SEC selections, four of which were on the First Team (Morris, Brian Fletcher, Trent Mummey and Kevin Patterson), and two All-America choices (Morris and Fletcher). At the conclusion of the 2010 season, Pawlowski's group saw a national-best and SEC and school record-tying 11 players get drafted, including nine in the first 18 rounds.
Much of Auburn success in 2010 was due to a rejuvenation of an Auburn lineup that set school records for batting average (.348), home runs (131) and slugging percentage (.591), with the latter two leading the nation. Auburn's 816 hits, 584 runs and its 9.1 runs per game also finished among the nation's top 10. Over a year into the job as the head coach at Auburn, the hiring of Pawlowski in June of 2008 had already begun to pay dividends in 2009. With a roster full of talent but void of previous success at the collegiate level, Auburn's 31 wins in 2009 were the third most for an Auburn coach in his debut season on the Plains. The difference in 2009 was the pop in the lineup as Auburn hit 103 home runs a year after hitting just 58 with two-thirds of the starting lineup from 2008 back for 2009.
At the conclusion of the season, four Auburn players had their name called in the Major League Baseball Draft, two of them for the first time, including fifth-round pick Joseph Sanders (Colorado).
Now a 14-year head coaching veteran and another branch off Clemson head coach Jack Leggett's coaching tree, Pawlowski brought with him a pedigree that includes a seven-year professional baseball career and stops on both Leggett's and Pat Murphy's coaching staffs at perennial powers Clemson and Arizona State, respectively, before his nine-year run at the College of Charleston. During his stay at CofC, he guided the Cougars to a .637 winning percentage, two regular season conference championships and three straight NCAA Tournament berths from 2004-06.
A three-time Southern Conference Coach of the Year (2004, 2005 & 2007), Pawlowski turned a regionally successful program at the College of Charleston into a nationally recognized program to be feared as the Cougars twice established school records for wins in a season and advanced into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in CofC history in 2004, an accomplishment that the Cougars repeated in 2005 and 2006. By the end of the 2006 season the College of Charleston was clearly on the map as it went to SEC Champion Kentucky's home field and went 3-0 to win the NCAA Regional and advance to the Atlanta Super Regional. The Cougars finished the year ranked as high as 12th nationally.
In nine years at the College of Charleston, Pawlowski guided the Cougars to a 338-192-1 mark overall and a 170-86-1 (.663) record in Southern Conference play. He also helped develop his players into 42 all-conference honors, four academic All-America honors, three SoCon Pitchers of the Year and two SoCon Players of the Year accolades. Additionally, he had 17 all-America honors bestowed upon his players since 2001.
Pawlowski's run of success at Charleston can be aptly defined by his 180-67 (.729) record from 2004-07, which established school and conference records for most wins in a four-year span, which includes a 53-year history of the Southern Conference, and three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament along with two regular-season conference championships.
The 2006 season has been hailed as the finest in College of Charleston history as the team posted a 46-17 overall record and a 20-7 record in Southern Conference play, winning the school's first Southern Conference Tournament title to go along with the unprecedented success in the NCAA Tournament, but his success in 2004, establishing school records for overall (47) and conference (25) wins and 2005 when he topped both of those accomplishments (48-15 overall, 27-3 SoCon) speak to the foundation that he was able to build at the South Carolina school. From 2004-06, Pawlowski mentored three straight SoCon Pitchers of the Year in Nich Chigges (2006), Brett Harker (2005) and Ryan Johnson (2004).
Prior to his arrival at College of Charleston, Pawlowski was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Arizona State in 1999. Before that he served as the pitching coach and assistant recruiting coordinator at Clemson from 1994-98. During that time, the Tigers made five consecutive NCAA regional appearances and two trips to the College World Series (1995 and 1996).
While an assistant at Clemson, Pawlowski's staff led the country in earned run average in 1996 with a staff that featured the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in that's years MLB draft in Kris Benson and Billy Koch. In his five years at Clemson, the Tigers had 15 pitchers drafted, while the recruiting classes ranked in the top 10 nationally each year. As a player at Clemson from 1983-85, Pawlowski finished his Tiger career with a 21-12 record and a 3.89 ERA over 54 games. He made 30 career starts working 240 1/3 innings with eight complete games, three shutouts and five saves. Pawlowski was the sixth-round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox in 1985 and made his major league debut in September of 1987. After playing more than seven years for the Chicago White Sox (1986-91), California Angels (1991-92) and Baltimore Orioles (1992) organizations, Pawlowski returned to Clemson to begin his coaching career and complete his degree.
Pawlowski received his bachelor's degree in Industrial Education from Clemson University in May of 1996. The Johnson City, N.Y. native graduated from Seton Catholic Central in Binghamton, N.Y. in 1982. In 2007, he was inducted into the Upstate New York Section IV Hall of Fame. Pawlowski has three daughters, Christine (21), Mary Louise (18) and Jenny Caroline (12).