Hornets’ Anderson earns 500th career coaching victory

Kevin Anderson

Nearly two full years after winning his 300th game as Shenandoah University’s baseball coach, Kevin Anderson achieved another career milestone.

Anderson, the Hornets’ head coach since the 2004 season, earned his 500th career college coaching victory last Sunday when SU completed a season-opening three-game sweep of visiting Case Western Reserve (Ohio) with a 7-4 victory at Bridgeforth Field.

Anderson deflected most of the credit for his coaching success when discussing his 500th win this week.

“What it means is I’ve had a lot of outstanding players throughout my career, a lot of great assistants. I’ve had the smallest role in the wins,” said Anderson, who has a 0.666 career winning percentage (500-250-2), including a 353-165-1 mark at Shenandoah. “And it also means I’ve been doing it a long time. But all the success goes to the players because as a coach I’ve never driven in a run, never got a hit. And you’re a successful coach if your players buy in and fortunately for me … just the best people that I’ve ever met happened to be some of the players I coached.”

Anderson served as the head baseball coach at James Madison University from 1994-1997, a span during which he won 147 games. He was announced as Shenandoah University’s coach in the summer of 2003 after teaching and coaching baseball at Warren County High School for five years.

Anderson, who also coached in the Valley Baseball League with the Winchester Royals and the New Market Rebels, guessed that he’s won around 750 total baseball games as a coach. His first coaching victory, he said, came in 1986 as the JV baseball coach at James Wood High School, his alma mater.

“That’s quite a while ago. I really don’t remember the first win. I do remember the last one (on) Sunday,” he quipped. “But it’s funny, as a coach you don’t really remember the wins but you remember the relationships that you form, the bonds that you form with young people. When you see your players go on and be successful in life, raising a family, that kind of stuff, that’s pretty cool.”

Shenandoah has never had a losing season in Anderson’s 12-plus years at the helm. The Hornets have averaged 33 wins per season since 2009 and have been a mainstay in the D3baseball top 25 poll during that span.

SU has made six NCAA Division III tournament appearances in the last seven seasons, including back-to-back World Series appearances in 2009 and 2010 after earning South Region championships. In those two seasons, Anderson earned Coach of the Year honors from both the American Baseball Coaches Association and the Virginia State Sports Information Directors, four of six coach of the year awards he has netted since 2009.

Anderson has guided the Hornets to three regular season championships as members of the USA South and Old Dominion Athletic Conference, as well as two conference tournament championships. Most recently, Shenandoah won back-to-back regular season ODAC titles in 2014 and 2015 and earned the program’s first ODAC tournament title last season.

“It’s sort of like Disneyland, it started with a mouse and got bigger. We take that approach,” Anderson said of SU’s rise during his tenure. “We’ve gone from 11 players in the program at Shenandoah to where we run a varsity and a JV (team). None of that could be possible if players don’t buy into the program.”

Anderson also gave credit to Hornets assistant coach Bruce Cameron, who is in his eighth season at SU.

“That’s unheard of in today’s society,” Anderson said. “And our approach is really a co-head coach type thing. He has just been very loyal, very knowledgeable and for the last eight years he has just been a phenomenal person.”

Anderson’s impact at Shenandoah hasn’t just been limited to the Hornets’ success on the baseball diamond. The Winchester native has long been an avid believer in giving back to the community, an attitude he’s helped instill in many of his players.

Shenandoah’s baseball program has been recognized for its community service in the Winchester/Frederick County area, and Anderson has received the university’s James R. and Mary B. Wilkins Appreciation Award – given in part to those who make “outstanding contributions to the development of the reputation of the university,” according to Shenandoah University’s website – on two occasions. Anderson is the only member of SU’s athletic department to win the award more than once, according to his profile on the school’s athletic website.

“This is my hometown and that’s just the way I was brought up. And I do it and don’t ask for anything,” Anderson said. “… If half of our players, wherever they end up living, if they can continue to do that, what an impact on people they can make.”

Anderson will have a shot at win No. 501 when Shenandoah (3-0) hosts Misericordia in a home doubleheader Saturday afternoon, but don’t expect him to keep counting his personal numbers. At least not until his 13th season at SU comes to a close.

“It’ll probably hit home a little bit after the season when you sit back and reflect. Right now we’re at the beginning of the season, a new year, a lot of new guys and we’re trying to find our identity,” Anderson said. “… A lot of former players, former coaches have sent their well wishes and congratulations – and that’s pretty cool. You don’t realize it but it makes you reflect back. Man, I’ve been doing this a long time.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com