Maryland baseball formally introduced Matt Swope as the program’s ninth head coach at a press conference on Wednesday.
Matt Swope became officially the new leader of the Maryland Terrapins following Rob Vaughn’s departure to the University of Alabama. The news of Vaughn’s new job and Swope’s new position came on Monday via a press release from the University of Maryland. The whole process unfolded quickly, and in Swope’s case, a little hectically.
“I can tell you how it came about. Sunday night, our A.C. [air conditioning] went out, and I didn’t sleep all night and then, I get a call [at] 9:40 a.m. on Monday, and Josh says, ‘can you come in and meet with Damon at eleven.’ That’s how it happened,” said Swope. “I said yes, Katie was gone, and the neighbor came over, and I gave the baby to the neighbor and did the whole Mr. Mom thing. I felt like it’s supposed to happen that way.”
Swope has been on the Maryland staff since 2013, serving in multiple roles. Swope started as the director of operations, then in 2017 he became an assistant coach. The past two seasons, Swope served as the associate head coach.
Swope’s Maryland connection spans much longer than 2013. Swope, a New Carrollton native, grew up a Maryland fan. His parents were Maryland graduates and got married in the campus’ chapel, said Swope. Swope attended DeMatha Catholic High School and committed to Maryland.
Swope was a Terrapin outfielder, graduating in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. Swope ended his Maryland career with a .331 batting average, with 16 home runs and 135 RBI. Swope was drafted in 2002 by the Montreal Expos and played in their minor league system and the Frontier League, per the release.
Swope has been able to instill his success as a player to the Terps’ lineup ever since he joined the staff. Swope has developed Maryland hitters through many different techniques and strategies; whether that be hitter report cards or something new Swope has been studying called motor preferences. Swope’s effect on the Maryland lineup has helped produce an electric offense that contributed to Athletic Director Damon Evans’ decision to hire Swope.
“If you take a look at what Swope has done, his growth, his maturity, his leadership, his commitment, what he’s done at the offensive end,” said Evans. “The offensive explosion here over the past three years, the home runs, the hits, the RBIs, the slugging percentage, you look at it. You have people coming to College Park, Maryland, asking him for his advice on hitting.”
Swope takes the place of Vaughn. Vaughn started at Maryland in 2013 as an assistant coach and then served as associate head coach, before being named head coach in 2017. Vaughn compiled a 183-117 record in his six years at the helm guiding Maryland to multiple successful seasons, including the program’s first time hosting a regional and its first Big Ten Tournament Championship.
“I want to thank Rob Vaughn for his 10 years at Maryland as he has lifted the Terrapin program to heights we have never seen before. Rob led us to back-to-back Big Ten Championships and claimed both the Big Ten regular-season title and tournament crown this past season,” said Evans in the press release. “During his 10 years with the Terps, we appeared in six NCAA Regionals, an unprecedented era in program history, and hosted the first-ever NCAA Regional in school history, last season. We wish Rob and his family the very best in their move to Tuscaloosa.”
Swope will lead a new look Terrapin team that will lose some of their star power. Top contributors Matt Shaw, Luke Shliger, Nick Lorusso, and Jason Savacool have their eyes set on the MLB draft. Lefty power bat Ian Petrutz entered the transfer portal with fellow teammates Zach Martin and Bobby Zmarzlak.
“I’ll be busting my behind in the next two weeks, trying to fill out the roster the best I can,” said Swope. “We’ve done a good job in the portal so far, with some additions, and obviously, you’re looking for those young guys that are kind of coming in to hopefully make an impact.”
Despite losing an extremely talented crop of players Swope acknowledged that the expectations of winning remain the same. Swope addressed the point with a message to those listening at the end of the press conference:
“Our mission and vision does not change. We will develop leaders and men of character. We will play hard. We will compete in the classroom and graduate our players. We will develop professional baseball players to live out their dreams. We will win championships. And we will do it better than it’s ever been done before.”