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tantly, he equipped us for the real world. He always emphasized dedication and hard work, which are two characteristics that can lead to success in any walk of life. I have always held onto these values and have been adamant about implementing them into my coaching style.” Supported by a strong staff of current and former assistants, Manhattan has been well-prepared to compete with some of the top teams in the country. In the past five years, the Jaspers have defeated four nationally ranked opponents, including one of the biggest victories in program history when they upset No. 6 Nebraska in 2006 to advance to the NCAA Regional Final. In addition, the team has five wins over Big East opponents in the last three seasons. “It all starts from practice,” he says and credits for the Jaspers’ success against stiff competition. “We work the guys hard from day one, so when it comes to game day with a big-time opponent, we are well-prepared and in a good mental state.” Leighton has not only had success developing his players but also his assistant coaches. Despite his short tenure as a head coach, the Brewster, N.Y., native has a track record of prepping multiple assistants who have later landed head coaching and top assistant positions at NCAA Division I programs. “Our current and former assistants have worked extremely hard to help build the program to the level it is at,” Leighton explains. “When you are part of a winning program, opportunities present themselves. They deserve as much recognition for our accomplishments as anyone associated with the program.” His staff currently consists of top assistant Ryan Darcy ’03 and fellow former Jasper standout Rene Ruiz ’07, who spent two seasons playing professionally in the Continental Baseball League before returning to his alma mater to begin his coaching career. Darcy, a four-year letter-win-

ner who graduated as the program’s all-time pitching leader in wins (23) and complete games (17), has been an integral part of the Jaspers’ success by serving as an assistant for the past six years. Darcy has witnessed firsthand the transformation of the Manhattan baseball program, which earned its first MAAC Tournament berth his senior season in 2003. “During my time as a player, our goal was to turn around a program, and we got the ball rolling,” Darcy says. “Now that the program has evolved, the goal is to continue the winning tradition.” Leighton believes that Manhattan baseball is still on the rise. He is eager to further build upon the Jaspers’ tradition of success. “We would like maintain our status as a top program in our region, and of course get Manhattan back to the NCAA Tournament,” Leighton says. “Manhattan College baseball is on the map and recognized more now than ever. Winning has attracted talented players who value a complete academic and athletic collegiate experience, which is something we are all very proud of.”

SINCE LEIGHTON BEGAN COACHING AT MANHATTAN, THE JASPERS HAVE EARNED... 48 MAAC All-Academic Selections 29 First Team All-MAAC Selections 16 Second Team All-MAAC Selections 17 MAAC All-Tournament Selections 3 MAAC Pitchers of the Year 1 MAAC Player of the Year 2 MAAC Rookies of the Year 1 MAAC Relief Pitcher of the Year 1 MAAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player 7 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans 6 Players Selected in MLB Draft 3 ECAC All-Stars 2 All-Gotham Selections 2 Louisville Slugger All-Americans 1 NCBWA District II Player of the Year 5 ABCA All-Northeast Team Selections 3 ABCA All-Americans 4 NCAA Regional All-Tournament Selections 2 All-Ping! Honorable Mentions 1 All-Ping! Freshman Second Team 4 Wins over Ranked Opponents

KEVIN LEIGHTON’S CAREER COACHING RECORD Through 2010 Season Year

Overall

MAAC

Accomplishments

2010

31-20

15-9

MAAC Tournament

2009

35-18

18-6

MAAC Regular-Season Championship; MAAC Tournament

2008

31-20-1

19-5

MAAC Regular-Season Championship; MAAC Tournament

2007

35-19

21-5

MAAC Finals

2006

34-23

17-9

MAAC Championship; NCAA Regional Finals

TOTALS

166-100-1

90-34

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Manhattan Magazine Spring 2011  

SPRING A Day in the Life of the College 56 OBITS 22 A DAY IN THE LIFE MANHATTAN COLLEGE EDITORIAL Lydia Gray, Director of College Relations...