report from Iona Gaels
NEW ROCHELLE, NY – Paul Panik was named the sixth head baseball coach in Iona College history, director of athletics Matthew Glovaski announced today. The Gaels’ hitting coach during its postseason run in 2017, Panik returns to New Rochelle after serving the 2018 year as an assistant coach at the University at Albany.
“We are excited to have Paul join our staff as our new head baseball coach,” said Glovaski. “Paul brings tremendous experience, passion and vision to the program and I am eager to see the program succeed in all facets under his direction.”
“I would like to thank Dr. Joseph E. Nyre, Matt Glovaski, and the search committee for allowing me this unbelievable opportunity to lead the Iona College baseball program,” said Panik. “Having already spent time in the program, there is a special energy around this excellent group of young men. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work to help the program succeed both on and off the field.”
Panik helped the Great Danes to 20 wins in his lone season and an appearance in the America East tournament. The sixth-seeded Great Danes upset No. 3 UMBC in the championship opener. He coached two All-America East pitchers in his one season in Albany, first teamer Dom Savino and all-rookie John Clayton.
At Iona in 2017, Panik helped push the program to its first MAAC tournament berth since 2000 and a championship game appearance. The Gaels recorded a program record four wins at the tournament, before falling in the final. The Maroon & Gold earned 25 victories in 2017, an increase of 14 from the season before. Iona soared to new heights, not only as a team but offensively. The team batting average increased 17 points, slugging percentage by 24, while the team on base percentage was raised by 38 points. Walks increased by 30%, while strikeouts were down by a half a strike out per game. Overall offensive production increased by 25%, scoring an average of 1.2 more runs per game from the previous year.
No stranger to the MAAC, Panik played collegiately at Canisius from 2007-2010 and served as an assistant coach at both his alma mater (2015-2016) and Niagara (2014). Panik was also as an assistant coach with Butler (2013) and Western Connecticut State (2012). With the Golden Griffins in 2015, Panik helped guide the program to a MAAC Championship and a berth into the NCAA Tournament.
As a player, Panik was the starting catcher for the Golden Griffins from his sophomore through senior seasons. He won two regular season titles and made the MAAC playoffs in each of his four seasons. The Griffs held a 136-91 record during his tenure. His .987 fielding percentage ranks ninth in Canisius history, and scored five runs in a game twice, tying a program-record. In his senior season, the Hopwell Junction, N.Y., native hit .278, with five home runs, 22 runs scored and 33 RBI in 38 games.
Panik earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in sport administration from Canisius College.