Last season, Blood led the Hawks to a 17-36 record, the most overall wins since 2008. The Hawks also finished with a 13-17 mark in conference action, which is the most league victories since the 1992 season (18-10). In his two seasons at Hartford, Blood has collected 33 wins and 76 losses, currently holding the highest winning percentage for a coach since Jim Bretz left the program in 1997 with a .382 (48-78-1) winning average.
Under his tutelage, three Hawks have earned America East honors with sophomore Sean Newcomb and rookie Chris DelDebbio earning distinction this past season. Newcomb was honored for the second-straight season as he was named to the league’s First Team All-Conference. Last season, Newcomb was named to the All-Rookie squad. DelDebbio earned All-Rookie distinction this past season after leading a group of 15 freshmen in 2013 with a .279 batting average while driving in a team-best 28 runs. 2012 graduate Simon Kudernatsch joins the pair as he received Second Team accolades following his senior campaign.
Blood also emphasizes the importance of academics within his program, evidenced by five players who have earned America East All-Academic praise, including Brady Sheetz, James Alfonso and Brian Hunter this past season and Simon Kuderntasch and Hunter following Blood’s first season at the helm. Kudernatsch and 2013 graduate Pat Knauth were also recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America with Academic All-America District 1 honors, while Kudernatsch was also named to the All-American team.
Blood’s stint at Hartford comes after helping lead UConn to its most successful season in program history, which included a BIG EAST regular season championship and the first trip to the NCAA Super Regional’s. UConn ended the 2011 season with a 45-20-1 overall record and a 22-5 mark in BIG EAST play.
In Blood’s final season at UConn, the Huskies pitching staff finished the season with an ERA of 3.14, 23rd best in the nation in Division I. The Huskies were also eighth in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (7.58). Blood coached right-handed hurler Matt Barnes to BIG EAST Player of the Year accolades and First Team All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Barnes was the third player in UConn history to be selected in the first round of the MLB Amateur Draft as he was taken 19th overall by the Boston Red Sox.
In 2010, Blood helped the Huskies to one of their most successful seasons to that point as the UConn ball club broke into the national rankings for the first time since the 1979 season. The Huskies finished that season with a program-record 48 wins. His pitching staff finished the year with the 17th best ERA in the nation at 3.91. The Huskies also struck out 397 batters, the second-best tally in program history, falling short of Blood’s 2009 staff, which struck out a school record 455 batters.
In his six overall seasons with UConn, Blood had 14 different pitchers drafted in the Major League Baseball draft, including five from the 2011 squad.
A pitcher himself, Blood was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2001 and excelled in the minor leagues before retiring to pursue coaching on the collegiate level. Upon his retirement, Blood had accumulated a 3.97 ERA in 82 games as a minor league player with a 7-4 record. He helped to lead the Inland Empire 66ers to the California League Class A title in 2003, posting a 5-2 record with two saves and a 3.07 ERA with 77 strikeouts and just 27 walks in 58.2 innings out of the bullpen.
The New Hampshire native joined the coaching staff at Quinnipiac University in 2003, serving as a volunteer coach, then in 2004 he returned to his alma mater, Franklin Pierce University, to complete his degree and work as the baseball team’s student assistant.
Blood played three years for Franklin Pierce before being drafted. He ranks among career leaders at the college with 235 strikeouts (second), 12 wins (fourth) and a 4.62 ERA (seventh) in 204.2 innings (fourth) over 38 appearances (third) with 12 complete games (fourth). In 2001, he struck out a program-record 20 New Hampshire College batters, which still ranks fifth in NCAA Division II single-game history.
Blood and his wife, Hannah, currently reside in Vernon, Conn., with their two children, a son, Jackson Everett, five-years-old, and daughter Harper McKenna, four-years-old.