Gryboski named Wilkes head coach

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa.  – Wilkes University Director of Athletics Addy Malatesta has announced the hiring of Kevin Gryboski '95 as the new head coach of the Wilkes University baseball program. Gryboski becomes the 16th coach in the 73-season history of the Colonels, but is the first named to the department in a full-time role.

"First, I would like to thank Addy Malatesta, Dr. Paul Adams, Phil Wingert, and the rest of the search committee for this opportunity," Gryboski said. "Since retiring from the MLB, my passion has been coaching. I have spent the last few years coaching high school, AAU, and professional baseball in the Pittsburgh area. When the Wilkes head coach position became available, I knew I wanted to come back. I look forward to working with the athletic department and its long-standing tradition of excellence with student-athletes.

Gryboski, a graduate with the class of 1995, became a household name to Colonels fans during his playing career. He was twice drafted, first in the 16th round of the 1994 Major League Baseball (MLB) amateur entry draft by the Cincinnati Reds (pick #436), ultimately returning to Artillery Park for his senior season, following which he was drafted again in the 16th round of the 1995 draft by the Seattle Mariners (pick #426). In 2002, Gryboski was traded to the Atlanta Braves, who he broke camp with in spring training, making his first major league appearance on April 13th, pitching 1.2 innings in a 13-inning loss to the then-Florida Marlins. Gryboski would go on to stints with the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals.

While with the Braves, a perennial postseason team in the early 2000's, Gryboski appeared in 13 playoff games from 2002-2004, attaining a 1.64 earned run average over 11 innings with 10 strikeouts. The Braves were unable to escape the Division Series all three years, despite Gryboski's performance. "We know the young men in our program look forward the breadth of experience and insight Kevin Gryboski will bring to Wilkes baseball," Wilkes University Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Paul Adams said. "Kevin will be able to connect with our players from across generations – keeping our alumni connected with our current student-athletes."

During his days in the Navy and Gold, Gryboski put his name throughout the record book, as he holds the career record for most complete games (22), and is ranked in the top ten in strikeouts (fifth, 195), innings pitched (fifth, 205.1), wins (fifth, 18), and games started (seventh, 30). Gryboski is tied for first in complete games in a season with eight and ranks tied for eighth in strikeouts for a season with 65. Gryboski also appeared on the basketball team during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my college years playing basketball and baseball at Wilkes," Gryboski explained. My teammates are still some of my best friends almost 25 years later. It is truly an honor to come back home and coach a program that has had a great tradition."

Gryboski has spent the previous three seasons as the varsity head coach at Thomas Jefferson High School in Jefferson Hills, Pa. Gryboski also spent the last four years as the head baseball coach and organization director of the McMurray Renegades, a travel baseball organization. During the 2014 season, Gryboski was the pitching coach of the Washington Wild Things, a professional team in the East Division of the independent Frontier League.

"I can't wait to start!" Gryboski commented. "My family and I are very excited about moving back to the area. I look forward to meeting the players and getting started this fall. I also look forward to giving back to the local youth baseball community."

Gryboski was inducted to Wilkes University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005, and has been inducted to the Luzerne County Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Plains American Legion Hall of Fame in 2011.

Gryboski graduated from Wilkes with a degree in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Physics.

Coach Gryboski will start his duties at Wilkes on August 27th.