BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech has announced the hiring of Mike Kunigonis and Patrick Mason as baseball assistant coaches. Both begin their duties immediately.
Kunigonis, a former coach at Radford, Canisius and Niagara, served the past two seasons with the Virginia Tech baseball staff as a volunteer assistant coach. His duties include working with Tech’s outfielders and hitters. He will also coach third base for the Hokies.
“It was with great pleasure to have been able to promote from within our Hokie family,” said Tech head coach Pete Hughes. “Not only is Mike deserving of this position, he was the right person for the job. The combination of Mike’s work ethic and ability to communicate will make him an instant asset in our recruiting efforts.”
Kunigonis spent the 2008 season at nearby Radford University, where he served in a similar capacity as a volunteer assistant. Before coming to the New River Valley, he spent five seasons as a full-time assistant, including three at Canisius and two at Niagara.
Prior to beginning his coaching career, Kunigonis starred for four seasons at American International College and was named an All-Region, All-Conference and All-ECAC first baseman as a senior in 2001. He received the Butova Sportsmanship Award for excellence on and off the field.
The Worcester, Mass., native earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology from AIC in 2001, and he completed his master’s degree in sport administration while at Canisius in 2006.
Kunigonis and his wife, Amy, the athletic trainer for Tech’s women’s basketball team, reside in Blacksburg.
Mason spent the previous five seasons on Neil McPhee’s staff at Northeastern and brings several seasons of coaching experience to the Hokies. The former NU catcher (1994-97) will be the pitching game coordinator and will also serve as recruiting coordinator. He was the recipient of the 2010 Kevin Burrer Award given to the top assistant coach in New England as selected by his peers. Mason served as assistant coach at Framingham State in 2004 after four years with Boston College under current Tech head coach Pete Hughes. For the summers of 2003-’06, he was a coach with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League.
“We are lucky to have attracted Pat Mason to our program,” said Virginia Tech head baseball coach Pete Hughes. “His experience with both pitchers and catchers will benefit many in our program. He is highly regarded as one of the hardest working recruiters in college baseball.”
Mason has a tremendous history of developing catching prospects, and in his ten years of coaching, he has served as a mentor for ten catchers who were selected in the MLB Draft and who are currently playing baseball professionally, including Huskies Matt Morizio and Dan Milano in his first two seasons at Northeastern.
While playing at Northeastern, the Franklin, Mass., native was captain in 1996 and ’97, and helped NU to America East championships in 1994 and 1997. In his four years, he found his way into the record books on both sides of the ball, as his 19 career home runs rank high in Husky history and, defensively, he holds the NU record for errorless chances in a season, with 242 (1997).