Andy Stankiewicz, Grand Canyon Antelopes

Grand Canyon Antelopes

Andy Stankiewicz begins his seventh season at the helm of the Grand Canyon Antelopes baseball team for the 2018 season after becoming the fourth head coach in the history of the program prior to the 2012 campaign.

After a pair of successful seasons at the Division II level in 2012 and 2013, Stankiewicz successfully guided the Grand Canyon Antelopes baseball program through a transition to the Division I level. The transition brought with it unprecedented success, as the Lopes claimed the Western Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship in the 2015 and 2017 campaigns. Amid the transition, GCU posted an impressive 71-33 (.683) mark in conference play despite being the conference’s only transitioning school. Amid the transition, Stankiewicz’s program has recorded marquee wins over the likes of Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Tennessee, UC Irvine and Kansas.

Stankiewicz is one of the more respected coaches in the collegiate baseball landscape, evidenced by multiple selections to lead USA Baseball national teams into international competition. Most recently, Stankiewicz guided the U18 national team to an undefeated run at the World Baseball Cup in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada in September 2017. He helped mold the team by narrowing 100 players down to a 20-team roster before leading USA to a 9-0 mark and a 61-5 margin of victory.

Grand Canyon posted a 20-4 record during conference play in 2017, the best mark the WAC has seen since Rice claimed the NCAA championship in 2003. The Lopes won their final nine weekend series of the season. GCU’s season started with a series victory over No. 22 Oklahoma State and concluded with edging out New Mexico State for the outright regular season title. Unsurprisingly, Stankiewicz was voted by his peers as the WAC Coach of the Year.

The development provided by Stankiewicz and his staff was never more prominent than in the case of Garrison Schwartz. The Phoenix native entered the GCU program as an unheralded walk-on before transforming into the 2017 WAC Player of the Year. His three-year Lopes career led to a 16th Round selection by the Atlanta Braves in the 2017 MLB Draft.

In 2015 – just the second year of GCU’s transition, Stankiewicz and the Lopes won their first WAC Regular Season title. In that championship season, Grand Canyon posted a .308 team batting average, a mark that ranked seventh in the country. During the reclassification process (2014-17), Stankiewicz’s teams ranked 28th in Division I in batting average (.294).

In his time as GCU’s head coach, eight Lopes have been selected in the MLB First Year Player’s Draft with a pair of selections coming in the first 10 rounds. Twenty-nine Lopes have been named All-Conference in Stankiewicz’s tenure including 20 first team selections.

With low expectations from outsiders, GCU burst onto the Division I scene by claiming second- and first-place finishes, respectively, in its first two seasons of transition to Division I athletics. In 2015, GCU posted a 32-22 overall record and a 19-7 record in conference play. In its return to Division I in 2014, GCU went 30-23 overall.

In 2013, the Grand Canyon Antelopes final season at the Division II level, Stankiewicz led GCU to its first appearance in the Division II Championship in Cary, N.C. after the squad boasted an impressive 40-19 overall record. The Lopes won the Division II West Region Championship after earning the No. 4 seed in the tournament. Stankiewicz was named the ABCA/Rawlings Division II West Region Coach of the Year as his team posted its most wins since collecting 43 in 1990. He was also named Pacific West Conference Coach of the Year after GCU earned a share of the conference crown for the first time since joining in 2007.

In his first season as head coach in 2012, Stankiewicz guided the Grand Canyon Antelopes to a 27-23 overall record as the squad finished eighth in the final West Region poll. The 27 wins marked a six-win improvement from the year before.

Stankiewicz’s history of USA Baseball now dates back over six years. He was selected as an assistant coach for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team during the summer of 2012. The squad traveled to Cuba and the Netherlands to compete in Honkbal-Haarlem Baseball Week, where it captured the bronze medal. In 2013, he served as an assistant coach for the USA Baseball 2013 17U National Team Development Program.

In the summer of 2014, Stankiewicz served as the manager of the USA Baseball 18U National Team and guided the squad to a gold medal at the COPABE 18U Pan American Games in La Paz, Mexico. The team went a perfect 12-0 in its summer contests.

Prior to joining the Grand Canyon Antelopes, Stankiewicz held the position of minor league field coordinator for the Seattle Mariners. Before his stint with the Mariners, he was a member of the Arizona State baseball coaching staff from 2007 to 2009. He helped guide the Sun Devils to three Pac-10 championships and two appearances in the College World Series.

Stankiewicz also brings to GCU a professional coaching background, having served as manager for the New York Yankees NY-Penn League team in Staten Island. He guided Staten Island to the NY-Penn League championship in 2005.

Stankiewicz was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 12th round of the 1986 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut with the Yankees on April 11, 1992. Stankiewicz played in parts of seven Major League seasons, with the Yankees (1992-93), Houston Astros (1994-95), Montreal Expos (1996-97) and the inaugural season of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998.

A standout infielder at Pepperdine, Stankiewicz ranks in the school’s top 10 in runs scored (172), triples (9), at-bats (755), stolen bases (101) and games played (220).

Andy and his wife, Mari Ana, reside in Gilbert and have four children: Drew, Marisa, Dane and Mia. Drew played collegiately at Arizona State and was an 11th Round selection of the Phillies in 2014 and has reached as high as Double-A in the Philadelphia system. Marisa is a senior on Arizona State’s softball team. Dane is a current member of the GCU baseball team. Mia attends Gilbert High School.

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).