Rutgers baseball went into their offseason looking for answers after the 2017 season. The school finished with a 19-34 record, which included a 7-16 Big Ten conference record. On Friday, they looked to a rival school to begin getting those answers.
Longtime Seton Hall coach Phil Cundari was named the new pitching coach of the Rutgers. Cundari, the 2011 Collegiate Baseball Pitching Coach of the Year, comes to Piscataway after spending the 17 years as a member of Seton Hall’s baseball staff. During his time with the Pirates, Cundari guided a pitching staff that threw seven shutouts during the 2017 season, including a no-hitter. Cundari also had two All-Americans during his time at Seton Hall as he hopes to add a few more to his resume with Rutgers.
“I’m honored to join Rutgers baseball,” Cundari said. “I want to thank our AD Pat Hobbs and his staff and my head coach Joe Litterio for this opportunity. I look forward to demanding the highest standards from myself and our pitching staff and together rise to the challenge in this great conference.
“It has been a privilege to recruit, teach, coach and develop young men at the university I love. I will always be thankful to Rob Sheppard, Mike and Phyllis Sheppard and the Seton Hall community. I wish Seton Hall and Seton Hall baseball great success moving forward.”
Head coach Joe Litterio contributed to Rutgers’ tough season to inconsistency. Team pitching was not what they were expecting during the season as Rutgers had the highest ERA (6.11) and opponents batting average (.289) in the Big Ten. A bright spot for the Scarlet Knights was their bullpen for a team that faced the 31st toughest schedule in the nation in 2017. The uneven pitching caused Rutgers not to retain pitching coach Casey Gaynor after the season and bring in Cundari.
“I am excited to have Phil join our staff,” Litterio said. “His work ethic and commitment to the development of student-athletes is second to none. Phil was my number one choice in this process. He knows the ins and outs of pitching. He is a relentless recruiter, and I am excited about where we can go in the Big Ten and nationally.”
Cundari played college baseball at Seton Hall and is second in wins (26), fifth in games started (36), and seventh in strikeouts (217) for the Pirates. He finished his collegiate career winning Big East Pitcher of the Year and receiving second-team All-American honors after winning 12 games and putting up a 1.74 ERA in 1985. He was inducted into the Seton Hall Hall of Fame in 2010. He received his master’s degree in psychiatric social work from Rutgers in 1990.