VIRGINIA BEACH --Andy Wissinger, a former Virginia Wesleyan College baseball standout, has returned to the College and the baseball program.
The three-time All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference honoree as been named the Marlins' Associate Head Coach, returning to coach with the man who coached him at VWC, Nick Boothe.
"I have total confidence in Andy's ability," said Boothe, who is now in his 27th season at VWC. "I value everything he says. We had three good candidates for the position and it was a tough decision to make, but Andy was the choice. He's done a great job at CNU (Christopher Newport University), he's already in the area, and he knows the game. There's no question about that. Here he'll have a few more elevated responsibilities. I'll lean on him a lot."
For the past nine years Wissinger has been an assistant baseball coach to John Harvell at Christopher Newport University. Wissinger contributed to the Captains' successful run that included eight winnings seasons, highlighted by 30+ win seasons in 2011 and 2012.
Wissinger returns to a VWC program attempting to turn things around after back-to-back losing seasons. Prior to that the Marlins' program enjoyed 14 consecutive winnings season, highlighted by six ODAC championship years and six NCAA tournament appearances.
Wissinger played on teams that started that 14-year streak, won two conference crowns, and advanced to the NCAA tournament twice. He was part of the first 30+ win season in 1997 when the Marlins finished 21-12 overall and 14-2 in the league. Now he wants current, and future Marlins, to experience that same kind of success.
"I was motivated to seek this position by the fact that it was Virginia Wesleyan and the opportunity to work with a coach who I played for and coached with before," said Wissinger. "It was a good opportunity to come back and help Coach Boothe turn things around. I have been watching and it has been disheartening to see the program slip a little. As a coach for an opposing school I always wanted to beat my former coach, but I also still wanted to see Virginia Wesleyan do well."
"I feel I can help with the fundamentals of the game, " added Wissinger. "I can help create competitiveness and intensity in practice, which only makes a team better. I can also help in the recruiting process. I have focused on the Virginia area a lot in the past 11 years, but I'd like to start recruiting out of the region as well."
Virginia Wesleyan's roster has expanded its reach in recent years and Boothe feels Wissinger can only continue that process.
"With Andy here we can recruit with anyone on any level," said Boothe. "We want to get back to bringing in the young men who aspire to be All-Americans, the guys who want to be drafted and signed."
Boothe knows all about the latter. In his prior 26 years with the Marlins, he has helped 27 individuals to compete in the pro ranks, including Major League Baseball organizations like the Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the San Francisco Giants, the Atlanta Braves, the Texas Rangers, the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, and the Florida Marlins.
"I'm very excited to come back to Virginia Wesleyan to help get the program back to the level of success it has enjoyed in the past," said Wissinger. "I'm looking forward to helping take the Marlins to the College World series."
As a VWC player Wissinger compiled a .325 career hitting average. He ranks No. 1 among VWC's all-time leaders in runs scored (140) and he is No. 3 among the ODAC's all-time leaders in career stole bases (79). Wissinger was a first team All-ODAC honoree in 1998 and second team honore in 1997 and 1999. He set VWC single season records in stolen bases (42) and walks (33).
After exiting Virginia Wesleyan as a student-athlete, Wissinger stayed with the Marlins as an assistant coach in 2000 and 2001, before leaving for the assistant's role at CNU. He was also the coach of the Peninsula Pilots of the Coastal Plains League in 2005.