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Gilblair Returns to New London, Named Head Baseball Coach

Shawn Gilblair

Shawn Gilblair has been named head coach of the Mitchell College baseball team, as announced by Director of Athletics Matt Finlayson.

Gilblair, who will make his collegiate head coaching debut with the Mariners, returns to New London, where he served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for the Mitchell College baseball team from 2019-2022. Most recently he spent a year at his alma mater, Eastern Connecticut State University, where he held the role of pitching coach. Gilblair replaces Travis Beausoleil, who compiled a record of 306-131-2 during 12 seasons leading the Mariners before recently accepting the Athletic Director position at UConn-Avery Point.

“We are thrilled to announce Shawn Gilblair as the next head coach for our baseball program,” said Director of Athletics Matt Finlayson. “Shawn is no stranger to Mitchell, and we are excited for him to continue the success that he directly contributed to during his time here. His baseball resume as a coach, recruiter and player combined with his character and leadership will help ensure that Mitchell baseball continues its proud tradition of excellence.”

Gilbalir has encountered nothing but success during his time on the diamond both as a player and a coach. A 2011 graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University, he was a three-time First Team All-America selection, a two-time New England Player of the Year, a two-time Co-National Player of the Year, a three-time New England Collegiate Baseball League Top Pitcher of the Year, and was named to the All Decade Team.

“I would like to thank President Dr. Espy, Athletic Director Matt Finlayson and the entire search committee for the time and effort put forth for this search,” Gilblair said. “It is an honor that Director Finlayson has entrusted me to be the next head coach and lead the baseball program. I look forward to building on a great tradition and experience for the student-athletes that has long been established both on and off the field.”

Before arriving at Mitchell in July of 2019, Gilblair served as pitching coach for Eastern Connecticut State University, Montclair State University and for the New Britain Bees. During his first stint with the Mariners, he worked to develop a pitching staff that entered NCAA regional play ranking top 10 in the country among all major statistical categories including ERA, strikeout to walk ratio and strikeouts per nine innings. Gilblair also recruited 19 players to the program and watched as they received All-Region and All-Conference recognition.

In addition, Gilblair orchestrated showcase camps and clinics and played an active role in the strength and conditioning of the team, specifically all aspects of physical development for pitchers, many of whom saw significant jumps in velocity.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have great mentors and coaches in my life,” shared Gilblair. “Many times, learning about the game of baseball came secondary to preparing for life and growing into young professionals in the real world. Because of this, I take great pride in developing players into respected, reliable, disciplined and competitors beyond the game of baseball.”

After transitioning back to Eastern Connecticut for the 2022-23 season, Gilblair recruited 80% of incoming 2023 class while guiding a pitching staff, which ranked 13th nationally in ERA heading into NCAA regional tournament. Three pitchers from the Eastern staff received All-Conference recognition, while also earning Team of the Week honors, and were named Little East Conference Pitcher of the Week and Rookie of the Week. Additionally, a pitcher on the Eastern staff was named to the All-America Fourth Team.

“With the upgraded facilities including one of the best fields in all of New England and our transition into a competitive conference in the GNAC, I couldn’t be more excited about the future of not only baseball but all athletic programs at Mitchell,” Gilblair continued. “The future is bright, and I’m eager to work with and learn from all the great coaches in the athletic department.”

The Mariners finished with a 33-10 record that included an 11-1 mark in New England Collegiate Conference play during the 2023 season. Mitchell picked up their ninth conference title, third in a row, and went on to win a program-best two games in the Regional Round of the NCAA Tournament. Mitchell will be joining the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) beginning in the 2023-24 academic year. 

A native of Windham, Connecticut, Gilblair holds a B.S. Degree from Eastern in Sport & Leisure Management.