By Jake Fischer, News Correspondent
In the spring of 1992, a young Mike Glavine left the baseball fields of Billerica for a spot on the Northeastern University baseball team. The lefty made an immediate impact on the program, batting .307 with 19 extra-base hits and eight triples during his freshman campaign.
After 10 seasons in the professional ranks and the last seven as a Northeastern assistant, Glavine is now in line to impact his former team as few have.
As announced by the Northeastern Athletic Department Monday morning, Glavine will succeed long-time head coach Neil McPhee as coach of the Northeastern baseball team following the 2014 season.
“We feel like Northeastern is a destination and not a stepping stone to somewhere else,” Northeastern Director of Athletics and Recreation Peter Roby said. “The thing with Mike is that he loves Northeastern and he wants to be here. It couldn’t just be someone who knew the game of baseball, it had to be someone who cared about Northeastern.”
Glavine, who now resides in Lexington with his wife and three children, graduated from Northeastern in 1995. A four-year starter, Glavine accumulated 28 home runs and 100 RBIs, ranking third and ninth, respectively, in school history.
The younger brother of Tom, a two-time Cy Young award winner with the Atlanta Braves, Glavine made his major league debut with the New York Mets in 2003. After retiring from baseball in 2004, Glavine was inducted into the Northeastern Hall of Fame in 2006. He will become just the fourth baseball head coach at Northeastern in the last 59 years and the 11th since the program was founded in 1921.
“I never thought that this day was going to be possible,” Glavine said. “What [Coach McPhee] has given me over the last seven-eight years to prepare for this, I’ll forever be thankful for.
“This is where I want to be. I was a student here at one point and now a coach, and I’ve never wanted to be anywhere else. Northeastern has given me so much. I’ve turned down other opportunities to stay here. I love the college game, I love college baseball and I love this university. It’s finally time for me to give back to the university.”
McPhee – Northeastern’s longest-tenured coach in history as he enters his 29th season with the team – feels the program is in position to experience continued success in the hands of Glavine.
“The Glavine name is synonymous with great baseball,” McPhee said. “I couldn’t be happier for Mike. I’m absolutely thrilled that the head coaching position is going to be passed on to an alumnus. He will help carry on what seems to be a long, long tradition. I think Mike will feel that same pride in his alma mater.”
The 2013 season was the baseball team’s first winning campaign since Glavine’s inaugural season on the bench. In 2007, the Huskies went 24-22, falling just short of the CAA Tournament. Last spring, Northeastern went an impressive 31-26 and captured the Beanpot championship before making a dramatic run through the conference tournament.
Glavine said he understands that taking the reigns of a college program and leading the team to success will not be an easy task.
“Any coach here knows about the amount of time and effort that goes into being a collegiate head coach,” Glavine said to a room full of coaches from multiple sports across the school’s athletics department. “The amount of time you spend away from home and your family is a lot. I’m so grateful that my family is very supportive of all the time and traveling that goes into being a baseball coach.”
Before taking over the program, Glavine will coach alongside McPhee for one last season, and the experience of five returning seniors should help propel McPhee to a successful farewell tour.