An accomplished, young pitching coach, Jim Belanger is entering his third season at Maryland and his first as associate head coach. Belanger was named to the Terrapin coaching staff on August 13, 2012.
Last season, Belanger mentored a staff that ranked 12th nationally in strikeouts per game (8.1) and totaled a school-record 500 strikeouts to help lead Maryland to its first 40-win season in school history and a spot in the NCAA Super Regionals. The Terrapin pitching staff, headlined by ACC strikeout leader Jake Stinnett and freshman All-American Mike Shawaryn, also posted the fifth-lowest opponent batting average in the ACC (.238).
Belanger was instrumental in the development of Stinnett and Shawaryn. Stinnett, who had not pitched an entire season as a starter until 2014, led the ACC and ranked fifth nationally in strikeouts with 132, a Maryland single-season record, and ranked first in the conference in complete games (4) and innings pitched (118.0) en route to All-ACC and ABCA All-Region honors significantly improving his draft stock.
Stinnett jumped 27 rounds from the previous year and was selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. It is the second straight year Belanger and Maryland have had a pitcher selected within the first six rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft after Jimmy Reed was taken in the sixth round of the 2013 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Under Belanger, Shawaryn became one of the best freshmen pitchers in the country. Serving as Maryland’s Saturday starter from the beginning of the season, Shawaryn totaled 11 wins, which led the ACC and set a Maryland single-season record. Following an impressive debut campaign, Shawaryn, along with second baseman Brandon Lowe, became the first Maryland player to earn All-America honors since 2002. Shawaryn was named a freshman All-American by Baseball America, Louisville Slugger, NCBWA and Perfect Game.
While the front end of the pitching staff garnered a lot of attention, Belanger guided a back end that also left its mark in the Maryland record book. For the second straight season, Kevin Mooney served as the closer and tied a Maryland single-season record racking up 13 saves. In addition, lefty Ben Brewster posted a team-low .151 opponent batting average out of the pen and was selected in the 15th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox.
In 2013, his first season in College Park, Belanger guided a pitching staff that featured two of the top-15 pitchers in the ACC in Reed and Stinnett. In addition, Belanger developed Mooney into one of the top closers in the conference. Mooney finished the season tied for fourth in the ACC in saves with nine, the highest total ever by a Maryland freshman and the second-highest single-season total in school history.
Under Belanger’s tutelage, Reed solidified himself as one of the conference’s premier pitchers. An All-ACC selection, Reed ranked seventh in the conference in ERA (2.33) and was one of only five ACC pitchers to throw two or more complete games in conference action. After an outstanding senior campaign, Reed was drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Belanger also oversaw the emergence of Stinnett. After beginning the year as the Terps’ closer, Stinnett transitioned to the weekend rotation and totaled six quality starts in his final seven appearances including a complete-game performance at Duke (4/28/13). Stinnett ranked 13th in the ACC with a 2.83 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .204 average, which tied for the fourth-best mark in the ACC. Stinnett was a 29th-round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2013 MLB Draft.
Including Mooney, Belanger molded a pitching staff that featured six true freshmen with Brandon Casas, Jake Drossner, Jared Price and Alex Robinson all playing prominent roles throughout the season. Mooney, Price and Casas ranked first, second and third on the team, respectively, in appearances, while Robinson ranked third on the team in strikeouts and fourth in innings pitched. Drossner made six starts, the fourth-most on the squad.
Belanger arrived in College Park after four seasons at Monmouth University where he oversaw the development of Pat Light, who was named New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association (NJCBA) Pitcher of the Year and drafted 37th overall in the MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.
In 2011, Belanger developed a staff which helped lead the Hawks to 36 regular season wins and the 2011 Northeast Conference (NEC) regular season title. The pitching staff posted a 3.34 ERA, which ranked 36th nationally and first in the NEC. In over 460 innings pitched, the staff allowed a league-low 462 hits, 216 runs, and 132 walks while recording a conference-high 322 strikeouts.
Under Belanger's tutelage, Nick Meyers earned 2011 NEC Pitcher of the Year honors, and Andrew McGee was named to the 2011 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team and was honored as the NEC Relief Pitcher of the Year.
A native of North Babylon, N.Y., Belanger began his coaching career at the University of Louisville in 2009 as an undergraduate assistant coach. Belanger helped Louisville win the Big East regular season and tournament championships as the Cardinals hosted a NCAA regional for the first time in school history.
During the summer of the 2008, Belanger helped coach the Bayside Yankees Senior American Baseball Club. The Bayside Yankees finished with a team ERA of 3.41 on its way to the National Amateur Baseball Federation National Championship.
A two-year letterwinner at Louisville, Belanger was a member of a Cardinals' starting rotation in 2007 and 2008. After helping the Cardinals advance to the 2007 College World Series, Belanger helped the squad win the Big East title and a spot in the 2008 NCAA tournament.
While at Louisville, Belanger appeared in 33 games for the Cardinals and started 17. In 98-2/3 innings, Belanger posted a 5.29 ERA while striking out 63. In 2007, Belanger posted a 3.94 ERA in 59-1/3 innings and held opponents to a .248 batting average.
In two seasons at Cecil Community College in North East, Md., Belanger compiled a 17-4 record with a 2.90 ERA and 108 strikeouts.
Belanger holds an associate degree in general education from Cecil Community College and a bachelor of science in sociology from Louisville.