WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut – Steve malinowski, who was recently elevated to the head coach of the Hartford baseball team after spending the past 10 seasons as an assistant coach, added notable alumni TJ Ward and John Slusarz to the coaching staff of the Hawks.
STEVE MALINOWSKI – HEAD COACH
University of Hartford Acting Vice President of Athletics and Recreation Dr. Sharon Beverly promoted Steve malinowski to the head coach of the Hawks baseball team during the summer.
“We were very fortunate to have someone with Coach Malinowski’s experience in our program able to lead our team,” said Beverly. “I am excited about this opportunity for him and for Hartford.”
Malinowski, who joined the coaching staff as an assistant coach prior to the 2012 campaign, has been an associate head coach since the 2016 season. He has nearly 15 seasons of college coaching experience under his belt. he spent four years on the coaching staff at UConn before arriving in Hartford.
Malinowski helped put Hartford baseball on the map during his 10 seasons with the Hawks. Recording six seasons of over 20 wins, he guided the Hawks to 217 wins, including a program record of 37 in 2016. Additionally, each of the program’s six appearances at the America East tournament came with Malinowski as part of the staff. coaches.
Malinowski was instrumental in helping the Hawks make program history in 2018. That season he helped lead Hartford to his first-ever appearance at the East American Championship and NCAA tournament. . The Hawks also made history that year by winning each of America East’s four major awards, including Coach of the Year, Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year. .
Malinowski has also been a key part of player development at Hartford. He helped produce 66 America East All-Conference winners, including six major winners and 16 first-team picks, as well as two ABCA All-American selections and four ABCA All-Northeast Region selections.
In addition, eight players were drafted by Major League Baseball (MLB) during Malinowski’s stint at Hartford, including current left-handed pitcher Sean Newcomb. Selected as the 15th overall pick by the Los Angeles Angels in 2016, Newcomb is the highest draft pick in school history.
Working under Jim Penders at UConn, Malinowski was tasked with coaching first base and developing outfielder. He helped the Huskies through their most successful seasons under Penders, including a 48-game winning streak in 2010 and back-to-back NCAA tournament spots in 2010 and 2011. The 2011 Huskies qualified for the NCAA Super Regional for the first time. times in the program. the story.
Prior to his tenure at UConn, Malinowski spent a season as an assistant coach at Bryant. He was also an assistant coach for the Pittsfield Dukes in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) in 2008, and the Manchester Silkworms in 2009.
Malinowski played two seasons of baseball at UConn, appearing in 33 games as a senior and finishing with a .260 batting average. He played 25 games as a junior after being transferred from Wake Forest in 2004.
A native of Kensington, Connecticut, Malinowski graduated in Coaching and Administration from UConn in 2007. He resides in Berlin, Connecticut, with his wife, Liz, and their two children, Everett and Sawyer.
JOHN SLUSARZ – ASSISTANT COACH
Slusarz joins the Hartford baseball team in 2021 after spending three seasons as the Hawks pitching coach from 2012 to 2014.
“John brings a wealth of knowledge to this program having played and coached professionally,” said Malinowski. “He understands the day-to-day development process of a pitching team. I am delighted to bring Coach Slusarz back to the program and I know our student-athletes will benefit from his guidance and teaching.
In his first stint at Hartford, Slusarz worked with Sean Newcomb, who became the Hawks’ top draft pick in 2016 when he was selected by the Los Angeles Angels as the 15th overall pick in the Major League Draft. baseball. With guidance from Slusarz, Newcomb became ABCA All-American and America East’s first pitcher of the year in 2014 after breaking Hartford’s single-season records in ERA (1.25), strikeouts (106 ) and set inning (93.1) that year. .
Selected by the Texas Rangers in the 2006 MLB Entry Draft and played four seasons in the minor league system, Slusarz returned to the MLB in 2014 to serve as a pitching coach in the Los Angeles minor league system. Angeles Angels. He spent three years with the organization before returning to Connecticut to become the head coach of varsity baseball at Hamden Hall Day School in Hamden, Connecticut.
A member of the Huskies for two years in 2005 and 2006, Slusarz graduated from UConn in 2011 with a degree in Communication Sciences.
TJ WARD – ASSISTANT COACH
Ward returns to his alma mater as an assistant coach after an impressive infielder career at Hartford. A member of the Hawks for four years from 2015 to 2018 and a two-time America East All-Conference winner, has been the team’s captain for his last two seasons.
“As a former student-athlete and team captain, I am delighted to welcome TJ back to the Hartford canoe,” said Malinowski. “He was a self-taught player due to his work ethic, persistence and passion for the game. Coach Ward will participate in offensive player development plans and serve as head coach / recruiting coordinator.
Ward, who won first-team All-Conference laurels in 2016 and 2018, was part of a 2018 squad that made program history. Leading Hartford to the first-ever America East regular season championship and the America East tournament championship, he helped bring the Hawks to their first NCAA tournament appearance this season.
In the classroom, Ward was a four-time member of the America East Academic Honor Roll which won the Commissioner’s Honor Roll distinction three times in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Graduated in Mathematics and Teaching high school, he was named to America East’s all-varsity team in 2016 and 2018.
Ward followed his stint with the Hawks with a two-year professional career with the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers of the United Shores Professional Baseball League, where he played second and third. Helping the Beavers win the USPBL Championship in 2018, he has posted a 0.296 batting average and 0.980 defensive percentage in 72 career games, adding 43 RBIs and eight homers on 22 more hits.
Since graduating in 2018, Ward has also coached baseball with Power 5 Baseball, Camilleri Baseball and the New Jersey Jackals. He most recently worked at Ramapo College of New Jersey from 2019-21, where he was an assistant coach and specialized in hitting and working with the team’s infielders.