Mike Gambino, Boston College Eagles

college baseball

Mike Gambino, a 1999 Boston College graduate, was named head baseball coach on July 19, 2010. He led the Boston College Eagles to the program’s first NCAA Tournament in seven years in 2016 and back-to-back Atlantic Coast Conference Championship appearances.

Gambino guided the 2016 Eagles to 35 overall wins, the most since 2005, tying for the second most in program history. They also tallied 13 ACC wins, the most since 2010, while their six conference series victories set a school record. BC swept the Oxford Regional as the three seed to advance to the program’s first-ever Super Regional and move on for the first time in 49 years. BC also earned national ranking for the first time in school history, ending the season in the top 25 in all four major polls (15th – D1Baseball, 16th – Baseball America, NCBWA and 21st – USA Today/Coaches Poll).

For his efforts, Gambino was named the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Northeast Region Coach of the Year, was a D1Baseball finalist for Coach of the Year and earned a spot on the website’s top-10 coaching performances of the season.

Gambino saw Justin Dunn garner All-America third-team honors, the first pitcher to do so since 2009, and newcomer Jacob Stevens collect freshman All-America honors from two media outlets, the first BC honoree since 2002. Stevens picked up New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Freshman of the Year accolades and All-ACC Freshman team honors, while Dun was named to the All-ACC Third Team and four players were named to the NEIBA All-New England team.

The 2016 Eagles ranked in the top five on 13 school record lists, including setting the program record for walks (240), tying the record for saves (14), and ranking second in opponent batting average (.245). Ten Eagles ranked on 26 of BC’s career top-10 lists while eight Eagles found themselves 17 times on single-season, top-10 lists.

In 2017, the Boston College Eagles returned to the ACC Championship, the first time they went to the conference tournament in back-to-back years since 2009-10. BC accomplished the feat by winning 10 of its last 15 ACC games with sweeps over Notre Dame and NC State. Two players – Donovan Casey (second team) and Jake Alu (third team) – earned All-New England status.

The ’17 Eagles ranked fourth in BC record books for their .975 fielding percentage and fifth all-time with 76 stolen bases. Jake Palomaki broke BC’s career walks record and ranked on two other career record lists while Jacob Stevens is ranked ninth for career ERA. Johnny Adams earned a spot on five career top-10 lists, Michael Strem on eight and Casey tied for ninth for career saves. Overall, Eagles ranked on 13 single-season lists in BC history in 2017.

The Boston College Eagles’ 10 stolen bases against Villanova (March 5) was the standard for the ACC in 2017 and their four double plays turned (at Florida State, March 10) and 54 total bases (vs. Notre Dame, May 19) tied for the league’s season highs. The 76 stolen bases were second in the conference and 39th in the nation. BC’s fielding percentage (.975) was fifth in the league while its 46 double plays turned tied for fourth.

In 2016 and 2015, Gambino mentored two first-round draft picks: Dunn, taken 19th overall by the New York Mets in 2016, and Chris Shaw, taken 31st overall by the San Francisco Giants. It was the first time in program history the Eagles saw back-to-back first rounders. BC was also one of five programs to have first-round selections both years.

The 2016 season saw five baseball players drafted – Dunn, Michael King (12th round), Jesse Adams (14th round), Nick Sciortino (19th round) and Joe Cronin (34th round). In 2017, Gambino saw Casey (20th round) and Adams (22nd round) leave The Heights for the MLB.

In 2015, Gambino logged his 100th career win as a head coach in the final game of the season with a walk-off, 10th-inning victory against No. 24 Notre Dame. The Boston College Eagles ranked in the top five on six school record lists, including the second-fewest walks (231), the third-best fielding percentage (.976) and the pitching staff recording the fourth-most strikeouts (433). BC also ranked sixth on the year in the ACC in stolen bases (63) and doubles per game (1.78), fifth for stolen bases per game (1.17) and walks per game (4.28) and second in fielding percentage.

Four players from the 2015 team were drafted in the MLB First-Year Players Draft, including Shaw, the first BC first-rounder since 2009. John Gorman (31st round), Jeff Burke (32nd round) and Blake Butera (35th round) were also taken. Four Eagles earned New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) All-New England accolades while Gorman was named to the ACC All-Academic Team and Shaw collected All-ACC Second-Team, Perfect Game USA All-American Third-Team and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Northeast First-Team honors.

The Boston College Eagles went 17-33 in Gambino’s first season at the helm, but he saw four players get selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. In 2011, the Eagles improved to 20-33, winning 10 games in the highly-competitive ACC. In just one year, the team’s batting average improved 19 points, slugging percentage 54 points and on-base percentage 27 points.

In his second year, Gambino saw infielder Anthony Melchionda and outfielder Tom Bourdon earn All-ACC second-team honors and take home ABCA All-Northeast Region and NEIBA All-Star accolades. Melchionda and classmate Matt Brazis were both drafted in the 2012 MLB Draft.

A young team in 2013, the Eagles regularly started five freshmen, and Gambino worked to improve through the year. The overall batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage all rose significantly from the first half of the season to the second and the Eagles doubled their win total.

In his fourth year at The Heights, Gambino saw the more improvement, recording 22 wins and tying for the most in conference, going 10-20 in the ACC. Shaw earned First-Team All-ACC and ABCA honors while pitcher Andrew Chin was drafted in the 15th round.

Since taking over at the Heights, Gambino has stressed off the field success as well, raising the team’s GPA as a whole. Eagles have earned seven spots on the All-ACC Academic baseball team and 58 on the ACC Academic Honor Roll.

Gambino, who was an assistant coach for the Eagles from 2003-05, came from Virginia Tech where he spent four seasons as an assistant coach under former BC head coach, Pete Hughes. He served as the Hokies’ recruiting coordinator and also worked with the hitters and infielders. In his four years, he saw 15 players get drafted in the MLB Draft, including nine in 2010. From 1997 through 2006, only 13 Hokies were drafted in total.

Virginia Tech’s batting average improved 40 points under Gambino’s direction since the 2006 season. With his help, the 2010 Hokies made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2000 and finished the season ranked No. 20 in the country.

Prior to working in Blacksburg, Gambino spent two years as a regional scout for the Detroit Tigers.

Gambino played for the Eagles from 1997-2000, starting 166 games in the middle infield. He held a career batting average of .313 with 22 doubles, eight homers, 87 RBIs and 117 runs. His 78 hits in 2000, which was No. 1 when he graduated, was tied for fifth, until 2011, when his own player, Bourdon, knocked it down one with 79 hits of his own. Gambino’s 52 runs his final year is still tied for eighth.

The Garrison, N.Y., native was a first-team All-Big East, All-New England and All-Northeast region honoree following his senior campaign. He also earned second-team All-New England and Big East Academic Team accolades during his playing career.

Following his career with the Boston College Eagles, Gambino played two seasons in the Boston Red Sox minor league system. He spent the 2000 season with the Augusta Green Jackets before splitting the 2001 season between Augusta and the Lowell Spinners. In 2002, the Red Sox hired Gambino as a special assistant to the Major League staff before heading back to Lowell for a coaching role with the Spinners just prior to the June draft. Following his stint in Lowell, the Red Sox sent Gambino to the MLB Scout Development Program.

In January 2003, Gambino returned to Boston College as an assistant coach under Hughes.

Gambino received his bachelor’s degree from The Heights in English and theology.

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).