Rutgers announced on Tuesday evening that baseball head coach Joe Litterio will not have his contract renewed, parting ways with him after six seasons. Litterio went 140-173-1 overall and produced a record of 39-78 in Big Ten play.
Athletic Director Pat Hobbs made the following statement:
“Joe has led the program with class and character, and served as a positive mentor to our student-athletes. We are grateful for his contributions and proud to have had an alum shepherd the team through its Big Ten transition. Moving forward, we are committed to hiring a head coach who will enhance the trajectory of the program, while also adhering to the strong values that exemplify Rutgers Baseball.”
Litterio, a Rutgers and program alum, led the Scarlet Knights to a .500 finish on the diamond in 2018 (25-25; 7-16) but oversaw a step back this past season, finishing 20-31 overall and 9-14 in Big Ten play. Despite having Rutgers in contention for eighth place in the conference and a chance for a first ever berth to the Big Ten Tournament on the last weekend of the regular season, they were ultimately swept at eventual league champ Indiana. It was a young team that showed promise at times, but were very inconsistent and finished the season losing six of its last seven contests.
The only winning campaign under Litterio took place in his first year after taking over for his mentor and Rutgers legend, Fred Hill Sr., who he played for on the banks in the early nineties and served as an assistant in his last two years leading the program. Competing in the American Athletic Conference in 2014, Litterio the Scarlet Knights to a 30 win season. The transition to the Big Ten was not a smooth one. A lack of facilities and recruiting budget didn’t help, but ultimately Litterio was never able to win enough during his six seasons in charge.
Pitching coach Phil Cundari, who has done a good job with molidng a pitching staff that included solid seasons from major league hopeful Tevin Murray (Second Team All-Big Ten), Steven Acosta, Serafino Brito, Harry Rutkowski and Tommy Genuario, will serve as interim head coach. A national search to find Litterio’s replacement is underway.
Hobbs has made several changes with leadership of non-revenue sports during his tenure as athletic director. Second year women’s rowing coach Justin Price has the program back in the NCAA Championships for the first time in 18 years, first year softball head coach Kristen Butler led her team to a program best sixth place finish in Big Ten play, while Umme Salim-Beasley made progress on the mat with gymnastics this past winter. The search for the new leader of the baseball program is the second one taking place after the spring ended, as Hobbs is also looking to hire a new head coach for women’s lacrosse after Laura Brand Sias stepped down earlier this month.
We will have more on Litterio’s departure soon and updates on the search as they develop.