Arguably the greatest pitcher who's ever worn a Marist uniform, Chris Tracz is in his sixth season as head coach of the Red Foxes.
Through five seasons, Tracz has amassed a record of 137-120-1 (.533). The Red Foxes have finished .500 or better four times in his tenure.
The 2014 season saw Ryan Thomas earn the Co-MAAC Relief Pitcher of the Year honor as a freshman, marking the second straight year a Red Fox earned the award. The Red Foxes continued to excel in the classroom as well, as 12 players were named to the MAAC All-Academic Team.
In 2013, Marist finished 27-24-1 overall and 16-8 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play, good for second in the regular-season standings. Kevin McCarthy was selected MAAC Co-Relief Pitcher of the Year, and shortstop Zach Shank was named First Team All-MAAC. Both McCarthy (16th round, Kansas City Royals) and Shank (28th round, Seattle Mariners) were then selected in the summer's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The Red Foxes posted a 25-25 record in 2012, and had three players (Jake Berry, Chad Gallagher and Mike Orefice) named Second Team All-MAAC.
In 2011, Marst posted a 35-17 record, as the Red Foxes achieved their second-highest win total in program history. The team's winning percentage of .673 ranked 28th in the country, and the Red Foxes received Top 25 votes. The program tied a school record with four players being drafted: Mike Gallic (San Diego Padres), Jon Schwind (Pittsburgh Pirates), Ricky Pacione (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) and Eric Alessio (Cincinnati Reds). Additionally, Kyle Putnam and Sean McKeown played Independent ball. Five Red Foxes earned All-MAAC honors, with three earning First Team selections as the squad led the conference in both hitting and pitching. Marist was among the national leaders in both ERA (3.35, 38th) and fewest walks per nine innings (2.99, 45th). Individually, Sean McKeown ranked in the top 30 nationally in both ERA (1.87, 27th) and hits per nine innings (6.03, 15th).
Marist enjoyed tremendous success in the classroom in 2011 as well. Ricky Pacione was named a Second Team CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-American, becoming the first baseball player in school history to earn the distinction. Eight Red Foxes were named to the MAAC All-Academic Team.
In 2010, the Red Foxes posted a 33-22 record in Tracz's first as head coach. The total of 33 wins tied for the second-highest single-season total in program history. Marist finished second in the MAAC with a 16-8 conference mark, and won six of its eight conference series.
Tracz pitched for the Red Foxes from 2001-05, and holds the school records for victories, innings pitched, strikeouts and starts, and is tied for the program record for complete games. Following his graduation, he served as pitching coach for the Red Foxes from 2006-08. In 2009, Tracz was pitching coach at Army, and helped guide the Black Knights to an NCAA Tournament appearance.
The 2009 Army pitching staff led the Patriot League in wins, ERA, shutouts, complete games, strikeouts and saves. The Black Knights also had the individual leader in every major pitching category in the league while boasting its Pitcher of the Year (Ben Koenigsfeld) and Reliever of the Year (Tyler Anderegg). The Army staff ranked 11th in the country in double plays induced, 66th in hits allowed per nine innings and 73rd in earned run average. Army finished with a record of 36-21, capturing the Patriot League's regular season and conference championships while finishing with the third-highest win total in academy history. The Black Knights defeated both Texas State and Boston College in the Austin Regional.
In his three years as an assistant at Marist, Tracz was responsible for recruiting and developing the foundation of a team that would win the 2009 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship. The Red Foxes finished in the top three in the MAAC in pitching all three seasons, and permitted the fewest walks in the conference in both 2006 and 2008. The 2008 staff finished 59th in the country in ERA and 64th in walks allowed per nine innings. The team's ERA decreased by .95 runs from the year before. Additionally, left-handed pitcher Josh Rickards was named First Team All-MAAC and finished 39th in the country with a 2.60 ERA. Two of his pupils would go on to sign professional contracts, as Bobby Hastry signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2007 and Jacob Wiley was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2009.
Tracz has mentored a total of 28 Academic All-Conference selections, an Academic All-American, 22 All-Conference selections and 33 weekly conference award winners in his coaching career.
In his playing career at Marist, Tracz was an integral part of teams that reached the NCAA Tournament in 2001, 2002 and 2005. He compiled a 38-9 record, and his ERA of 3.13 ranks second in program history. He struck out 298 batters in 399.2 innings and had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 4-to-1. He started 56 games and completed 14 of them. He was named MAAC Pitcher of the Year in 2002, and won the award again in 2005 after sitting out the previous season due to Tommy John surgery. Additionally, Tracz was named First Team All-Region in 2002 and 2005. As a freshman in 2001, he won his first 10 decisions en route to earning MAAC Rookie of the Year, Louisville Slugger and Baseball America All-American honors.
Tracz was a team captain from 2003-05, and was named Marist Sportsperson of the Year in 2005.
Tracz received the 2009 Connecticut State American Legion Award. In his tenure as a coach, his players have participated in the Hunger Walk, SPCA and Friends of Jaclyn programs.
A 2005 graduate of Marist, Tracz earned his Bachelor's degree in Public Relations while minoring in Psychology. Tracz resides in Pleasant Valley with his wife, Katie, and daughter, Taylor, who was born on May 23, 2013.