Phil Cundari is entering his 14th season on the coaching staff at Seton Hall University, and the third as its Associate Head Coach. The long-time Pirates' pitching coach was promoted in October of 2011.
Last season, Cundari led the Seton Hall pitching staff to the second-best ERA and opponent batting average in the BIG EAST. Seniors Jon Prosinski and Greg Terhune had successful seasons as the Pirates' Friday and Saturday starters respectively. Both finished among the conference's top-7 in opponent batting average with Terhune also ranking fifth with a 2.33 ERA. Prosinski was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team for a second straight year and NJCBA Pitcher of the Year. Junior closer Brian Gilbert was named to the All-BIG EAST Third Team and NJCBA Fireman of the Year.
In 2012, Cundari's pitching staff was again among the best in the BIG EAST Conference. Ryan Harvey, the team's Saturday starter, was drafted by the Texas Rangers. Cundari also received the "Distinguished Service to College Baseball" award from the New Jersey Sports Writer's Association.
Cundari's promotion to Associate Head Coach came on the heels of a tremendous 2011 season in which the program won its second BIG EAST Championship in Cundari's tenure. Cundari's pitching staff, led by a pair of aces in Joe DiRocco and Jon Prosinski, led the conference in earned run average and was second in strikeouts, opponent batting average, innings pitched and hits allowed. DiRocco was named Most Outstanding Player of the BIG EAST Championship and became the first Pirate to receive ABCA All-America honors since 1997. Additionally, DiRocco and Prosinski finished the season with the only two sub-2.00 ERAs among all starters in the BIG EAST.
For the impressive work of his pitching staff in 2011, Cundari was named National Pitching Coach of the Year.
In his tenure, Cundari has coached 21 players who were either selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft or signed as a free agent. He currently has 15 former pitchers - Isaac Pavlik, Elvys Quezada, Chris Noonan, Tim Sabo, Dan McDonald, Dan Merklinger, Corey Young, Greg Miller, Keith Cantwell, Sean Black, Joe DiRocco, Ryan Harvey, Brian Gilbert, Jon Prosinski and Greg Terhune - pitching in either the minor leagues or in independent baseball.
Cundari mentored B.J. Benik, drafted as both a junior and senior, towards establishing career records for innings pitched and games started (both have since been broken by another Cundari protege, Jon Prosinski). Under Cundari, Shawn Tarkington was a First Team All-BIG EAST selection in 2001, as was Young in 2008. On top of that, Young was named the 2008 New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association's (NJCBA) Pitcher of the Year, while Chris Roach received the NJCBA Rookie Pitcher of the Year, and Joe DiRocco was honored by making the NJCBA All-Rookie Team.
The same campaign also saw BIG EAST Weekly honors to three of Cundari's pitchers. Young took home the BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Week honors on two occasions along with conference Weekly Honor Roll. Sean Black earned a conference Pitcher of the Week award, and Matt Singer picked up a conference Weekly Honor Roll award.
Off the baseball field, Cundari runs his own private practice as a sports performance consultant. A licensed psychotherapist, he specializes in peak performance and mental toughness training for athletes of all levels.
Following a stellar three-year career for the Pirates from 1983-85, Cundari was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1985. He pitched in the Oakland organization for four years, reaching as high as the AA level in 1987 before his career was cut short by an arm injury.
At Seton Hall, Cundari ranks second in career wins (26),fourth in games started (36) and seventh in strikeouts (217) while playing just three seasons. He capped off his career in fine fashion, garnering BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and Second Team All-America honors in 1985 after winning 12 games, striking out 98 and posting a 1.74 earned run average. Cundari's 1.22 ERA in BIG EAST games still stands as a conference record. Cundari was inducted into Seton Hall's Hall of Fame in February 2010.
Cundari returned to Seton Hall to earn his bachelor's of social work in 1989. He completed his master's degree in psychiatric social work from Rutgers University in 1990. A native of Cliffside Park, NJ, Cundari and his wife Trish currently reside in Shrewsbury, NJ. They have two children - Christina (21) and Philip (18).