Over the past several years, Mike Rooney has become the face of college baseball and without question one of the sport’s biggest and most enthusiastic supporters as an analyst for ESPN’s coverage of college baseball.
His foray into college baseball began as a player at the University of Notre Dame, where Rooney earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1992. While at Notre Dame, he played for head coach Pat Murphy from 1988 to 1992 on the Irish baseball team. Rooney played six different positions during that time (every position except first, pitcher and catcher). He was a member of the 1992 squad that was one win away from a trip to the College World Series. While Rooney was with the Irish, the teams averaged 47 wins per year.
Mike Rooney also spent nine seasons at Arizona State University, including six as an assistant coach under Pat Murphy from 1998 to 2004. During his coaching career at ASU, Rooney helped turn the ASU defense into one of the best in the nation. He helped mentor Dustin Pedroia, who twice was named the National Defensive Player of the Year before going on to success at the Major League level.
Rooney later served as the Sun Devils’ director of baseball operations for three years. During that time, in addition to his duties in the office, Rooney served as the color commentator on all Sun Devil Baseball radio broadcasts. He also began working in television in 2007, when he served as the color analyst for both ASU baseball and softball for FSN Arizona.
Rooney was the head baseball coach at Phoenix College from 2005 to 2008, twice being named the school’s Male Sport Coach of the Year (2006 and 2008). In 2008, Rooney helped lead Phoenix College to their first winning season since 1993, winning the Arizona Region I Championship and overseeing a 14-game turnaround from the previous season.
While at Phoenix College, Mike Rooney ran all aspects of the baseball program in one of the top junior college baseball conferences in the country. He helped 14 student-athletes move on to Division I programs during his four seasons, as well as had one of the highest team GPAs in junior college baseball during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Rooney began his coaching career by spending five years at Malvern Prep in Malvern, Pennsylvania prior to arriving at ASU. While at Malvern Prep, he coached two first-round MLB picks in four years as the head coach – Ben Davis (2nd pick overall by the Padres in 1995) and Josh McKinley (11th pick overall by the Expos in 1998). He also coached future first-round pick Glenn Davis (27th pick overall by the Dodgers in 1997) who played at Vanderbilt after graduating from Malvern Prep.
During Rooney’s tenure at MP, his team’s averaged 22 wins per season while setting a school record for victories in 1997 with 26. He was a successful fundraiser at Malvern Prep, adding indoor and outdoor batting cages for the program and toured Florida and Puerto Rico on baseball trips.