NIU baseball tabs Kunigonis as head coach

By Frank Gogola

Baseball has tabbed Mike Kunigonis (KOON-uh-GOHN-iss) as the Huskies’ fifth head coach since the program was reintroduced in 1991, according to a news release. This is Kunigonis’ first head coaching job at the Division I level.

Kunigonis, 34, comes to the Huskies from Virginia Tech, where he spent the last seven years. He most recently served as the Hokies’ associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.

Prior to being promoted to associate head coach in 2013, Kunigonis served as a volunteer assistant coach from 2008 to 2010 and as an assistant coach from 2010 to 2013 at Virginia Tech. Since taking over hitting coach duties in 2010, the Hokies had the ACC’s top offense in 2014, and their 2013 offense ranked Top 25 nationally in five categories.

As a recruiter, Kunigonis has recruited the Midwest area during his career and should be able to develop homegrown talent.

“I’ve spent a lot of time recruiting in Chicago in my time as a coach, and the relationships that I’ve built there go way further than baseball,” Kunigonis said, according to a news release. “Being at NIU, I’ll be able to expand those relationships with players and reach out to more of them.”

Kunigonis will begin the process of putting his touch on the program this week contingent upon the university approval and paperwork finalization.

Kunigonis, who played at American International College in Springfield, Mass., from 1999-2002, will be filling the void left by Ed Mathey. Mathey was the Huskies’ head coach from 2003 until he resigned on Nov. 20 to return to his alma mater, North Central College.