RICHMOND – The VCU Baseball program and head coach Shawn Stiffler have hired Mike McRae as the new assistant baseball coach for the Black & Gold. The Rams also promoted Josh Tutwiler from director of operations to assistant coach. McRae will focus on the pitching staff in his coaching duties, while Tutwiler will oversee catching development, base running and offensive strategy, as well as coordinate on-campus recruiting visits and camps.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have the experience and expertise of Mike McRae join our program,” said head coach Shawn Stiffler. “His proven track record of winning and player development speaks for itself. Mike has, for awhile, has been considered one of the top coaches in all of college baseball. Our players will truly benefit from Mike’s passion and expertise.”
McRae joins the Rams from Canisius College in Buffalo after 14 seasons as Head Coach of the Golden Griffins. McRae led a total rebuilding project of the Golden Griffins, taking over a team that won four games in 2004 to winning the program’s first two MAAC Championships and making the program’s first appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2015. McRae had a record of 440-358 in his 14 seasons at Canisius, including a 333-222 (.600) record in the last eight seasons that includes three MAAC regular-season titles.
McRae, the four-time MAAC Coach of the Year, led Canisius to the conference tournament in each of the last 13 seasons, the longest streak in the conference. In 2015, the Griffs lost the first game, but reeled off five-straight victories, including a two-game championship round, to capture its second title. In 2013, Canisius won all three of its games in the MAAC Championship, including a walk-off 11-10 win in the title game, to win the program’s first conference championship.
McRae had also built a professional pipeline through Canisius, having 13 players, including two draft-eligible juniors, associated with the program selected in the Major League Draft during the past 10 years - Most in the MAAC over that time period. He also had a number of player receive conference, regional, and national accolades both in and out of the classroom.
McRae (Niagara Falls, Ont.) began his career by becoming the first head coach at Brock University. From there, he joined Niagara’s staff as a hitting instructor in 1996-97 before moving to Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., from 1997-98. From 1998-2001, McRae served as an assistant coach at Maine, where he was responsible for the 12-man pitching staff.
He also served as an assistant coach for the Canadian National Youth Team, which competed in the World Championships in 1996 and 1997 and as a guest coach for the Toronto Blue Jays during their 1997 spring training.
McRae was a four-year letter winner at Colby College and captained the 1991 team. He also lettered as a goalie on the Colby College hockey team. McRae earned his undergraduate degree from Colby in 1991 and his master’s degree in education from Niagara in 1993.
Tutwiler joined the Rams prior to the 2016 season as the director of operations. The Rams have had back-to-back seasons of 35-plus win seasons since Tutwiler has joined the staff. Each of those two seasons, the Rams have had the second and first seeds in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.
“I’m thrilled to have Josh move into the role of Assistant Coach. His hard work and dedication over the past two years has helped our program to grow. Josh brings a lot of energy and a great mind for the game. Our players are going to love working with him every day.”
Prior to VCU, Tutwiler joined the Rams after spending the previous three seasons with William & Mary. Tutwiler played collegiality at Old Dominion, earning All-CAA accolades as a catcher. In his final season, he led the Monarchs in home runs, slugging percentage, and walks. The catcher played a large part in leading ODU to a second place regular season and CAA tournament finish in 2011. Prior to ODU, Tutwiler played at Jackson State Community College, where he earned Academic All-American honors in 2010. Before that, he spent his first two years of college playing ball at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. There, he was a member of the Red Storm’s Big East Championship team in 2008.
Tutwiler graduated from Old Dominion in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minor in Philosophy of Religious Studies. He also received his Master of Education degree in Sport Leadership from VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership in 2017.