Kevin Beattie, acting athletic director, has announced several baseball coaching changes for the upcoming 2008 season. Among the changes in head coach Karl Steffen’s staff is the elevation of Steve “Smoke” Allard from pitching coach to associate head coach.
Allard, who is in his 21st season with the Rensselaer baseball program, spent the past 20 years as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
The elevation to associate head coach provides a more in-depth role as he coordinates the pitching and defensive efforts. Allard remains as the team’s recruiting coordinator in his new position.
The Averill Park, N.Y., native has helped lead the Red Hawks to more than 50 school pitching records along with four NCAA pitching records. He was named the AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002 and has coached six National All-American pitchers.
Assistant coach Jeff Abdelnour, who served as the head coach of the junior varsity team for the past two seasons, is the team’s new pitching coach. A 2005 graduate of Catawba College, he was a standout pitcher for the Indians, going 9-2 in his senior season. That year, Abdelnour led the team in wins and complete games (4) and was second in innings pitched (85.1).
In addition to Allard’s move, veteran third base and bullpen coach Rich Wurster moves from volunteer to part-time assistant. This is Wurster’s seventh consecutive season on the Rensselaer staff and his 14th overall.
New to the Red Hawks in 2008 is Jeff Dufour, a former College of Saint Rose standout. A two-time All-Northeast-10 selection, he was a National All-American centerfielder in 2002 and helped lead the squad to the Northeast-10 Championship that year. Dufour served as an assistant at nearby Hudson Valley Community College for the past two seasons.
Last season, Rensselaer finished with a 29-10 record, including a 12-4 Liberty League mark en route to their second consecutive regular season title. Returning to the lineup for the Red Hawks are nine of last year’s 11 All-Liberty League selections, including Rookie of the Year John Dreimiller.
The Red Hawks return to action March 8 in Tampa, Fla. The first home game will be played March 21 at 2 p.m. against Clarkson.
For more on baseball or any of Rensselaer’s varsity sports teams, go to www.rpiathletics.com/.
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