MEADVILLE, Pa. (Aug. 29) - Allegheny College Director of Athletics Portia Hoeg has announced the hiring of Brandon Crum as the Gators' head baseball coach.
A native of neighboring Saegertown, Pennsylvania, Crum returns to Allegheny after serving as the team's assistant coach from 2012-16 under former head coach Kelly Swiney '99, who tendered his resignation in July.
"It's a remarkable feeling to have the opportunity to represent Allegheny College and the Gator baseball program as head coach," Crum said. "As a native of the Meadville area and former assistant coach here, this institution is truly home to me. Allegheny has meant so much to my family and I over the years, and I have tremendous pride and passion for Gator athletics. To once again be a part of this institution is an absolute blessing."
"We are excited to welcome Brandon back to our Allegheny community," said Hoeg. "During his tenure as an assistant, he played a big role in the recruitment of several standout Gator student-athletes, and has strong recruiting ties in our region. In an extremely strong candidate pool, Brandon was able to distinguish himself in a way that showed he could continue our tradition of success.
"Brandon has a good understanding of Gator athletics," Hoeg continued, "and of the tremendous expectations we have for our Gator baseball program. While he learned a great deal from Coach Swiney, Brandon has a philosophy, style, and vision that will help take our program from good to great. I am excited to see what we can accomplish under his leadership."
Crum spent the 2017 season as head coach at Mercyhurst University-North East, and quickly made his mark. After a slow start, he rallied his squad to nine wins in its final 12 games of the regular season to advance to the NJCAA Region III playoffs. The Saints then swept rival Monroe Community College to earn their first regional championship since 2014, and advance to the NJCAA District Tournament.
After orchestrating the mid-season turnaround, Crum was named the NJCAA Region III Coach of the Year, while seven Saints earned All-Region accolades, highlighted by Dalton Donachie, who was named both NJCAA Regional Pitcher of the Year and Mercyhurst North East Male Athlete of the Year.
From 2012-16, Crum served as Allegheny's recruiting coordinator, while also handling the team's pitchers and catchers, calling pitches and in-game defenses, assisting with designing and implementing off-season strength and conditioning programs, and assisting with the organization of a number of youth camps and clinics. The Gators went a combined 97-60 overall, and 48-23 in the North Coast Athletic Conference over the span, qualifying for the NCAC Championship Tournament in three of the four years, including a trip to the conference title game in 2013.
Over Crum's first stint with the Gators, 12 players earned a total of 20 All-NCAC accolades, highlighted by Joe Killian '16, who was named the 2013 NCAC Newcomer of the Year, 2016 NCAC Player of the Year, and 2016 D3Baseball.com All-America, while earning four straight All-NCAC selections. Chase Boyer '17 was a three-time All-NCAC pick and was tabbed the conference's Pitcher of the Year in 2016, as the Gators swept the league's major awards for the first time since 1993. Killian and Boyer were also named All-Region by both D3Baseball.com and the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2016, marking the second straight season for Killian to earn the honor, after he joined teammate Zach Gray on the list in 2015.
Crum began his affiliation with Allegheny baseball in 2010, spending one season as a volunteer assistant coach, working primarily with catchers. During his time as a volunteer assistant, he also served as Director of Athletics and Facilities at nearby Conneaut Area School District, where he was responsible for coordinating the scheduling for all athletic events, including officials and transportation, developing the district's athletic budget, and overseeing the hiring of district coaches.
He started his coaching career at the American Legion level, as he manned the helm of Saegertown's French Creek Valley squad for nine seasons, accumulating a record of 150-30. His teams won 20 or more games in six different years and earned five district championships, while advancing to the Region 8 title game in four straight seasons between 2011-14.
A catcher, Crum played collegiately at Gannon University, serving as a two-year team captain. A 2010 All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference selection at catcher, he was named to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) All-Academic team in 2008, before earning the same accolade in the PSAC in both 2009 and '10. He ranks in the top-10 in Gannon career history in fielding percentage (.970), putouts (444), and hit-by-pitches (24), while he owns two of the program's top five single-season totals in sacrifice bunts.
Crum graduated from Gannon in 2010 with a B.S. in Finance, before going on to earn a Masters in Sports Administration from Lock Haven University.
He and wife Ashley are the parents of son Griffin and daughter Zoe, and reside in Woodcock Township, Pa.
"Coaches Bob Garbark, Rick Creehan, Mike Ferris, and Kelly Swiney have all established a legacy of Gator baseball that is unrivaled," Crum stated. "I am honored to follow them, and will work as hard as I can to continue the winning tradition and add to the successful foundation that they have collectively built. I am extremely grateful to Portia and the Allegheny administration for placing their confidence in me to lead this program. I look forward to connecting with our incredibly successful alumni base, as well as current and future Gators. The coaching staff and I are ready to get to work."