augusta free press news

Dukes extend contract for McFarland

Edited by Chris Graham

James Madison baseball head coach Spanky McFarland has received a contract extension through the 2014 season, it was announced Thursday by director of athletics Jeff Bourne.

McFarland was named the CAA Co-Coach of the Year after leading the Diamond Dukes to a 30-23 overall mark in 2010. JMU went 18-6 in the CAA, winning all eight league series, to capture its third regular season title under McFarland.

It was McFarland’s eighth 30-win season in 13 years at the helm. He also won his 400th game at JMU on May 18 at East Carolina to improve to 403-330-2 (.550) in his career in Harrisonburg.

JMU finished 76th in the final RPI out of 301 teams nationally and was the only CAA team under 100. It was a season in which the Dukes played 35 of their 53 games on the road to post the 86th-toughest strength of schedule in the nation, again the only CAA team under 100.

JMU went 15-3 at home in its first season at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park. The average of 795 fans per game was tops in the CAA and more than double the 2009 average of 299 in the final season at Long Field/Mauck Stadium. The 1,815 fans in attendance for the March 17 game against top-ranked Virginia shattered the previous single-game record of 895.

McFarland, who prides himself on the development of pitchers and is a published author on the craft, had the 65th pitcher of his coaching career sign a professional contract with Kevin Munson drafted in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Munson entered JMU as a converted high school catcher and left as the CAA Pitcher of the Year, an All-American, the program saves record holder, and possessor of the fourth-best career ERA (2.35) in league history.

With a total of three players drafted in 2010, McFarland has now had 22 draft picks and 32 players sign a professional contract in his 13 JMU seasons. In addition to Munson’s honors, the Dukes had 11 total awards, the most in program history, among CAA postseason honors in 2010. No other team had more than six.

In the final NCAA statistical rankings, the Dukes sat in the top 50 nationally in Division I in scoring, doubles per game, triples per game, total triples, home runs per game, slugging percentage, steals per game, total steals, walks, and sacrifice flies.