2017 will mark Joe Kinney's 18th season as the head coach at Lafayette. Since taking over prior to the 2000 season, Kinney has continuously raised the talent level to the point where Lafayette is consistently in contention for a Patriot League title.
He has proven to be a top-notch recruiter both athletically and academically, as during each of the past two seasons, the Leopards have featured both a Freshman All-American (Alex Woinski in 2014 and Steven Cohen in 2015) and the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Cory Spera in 2014 and Toby Schwartz in 2015). Lafayette is coming off of a season in which the team came one game shy of making the conference tournament.
The Leopards have advanced to the Patriot League Tournament in five of the past 10 seasons, including an underdog run to the 2009 championship series. As the No. 4 seed, they upended Bucknell in the semifinals to earn a date with Army in the finals. Perhaps the most notable year under Kinney came in 2007 - a season for the record books - as the Leopards recorded a program-best 33 wins, including 17 Patriot League victories, and advanced to the NCAA Regional.
The team's performance that season earned Kinney his first-ever Patriot League Coach of the Year honor. Under Kinney, Lafayette has boasted 53 All-Patriot League selections and three Patriot League Players of the Year (A.J. Miller '11, Adam Rosenberg '04, Vince D'Angelis '02). Kinney was also at the helm in 2004 for the Leopards' first trip to Patriot League Championship Series and in 2002 for Lafayette's first 20-win season in a decade. Kinney has been instrumental in major renovations to Lafayette's baseball facilities.
In 2008, the baseball field was renamed Kamine Stadium and in 2004, renovations made to the stadium included the addition of a grandstand with chair-back seats and bleachers, a press box and the expansion and refurbishment of both dugouts. Most recently, Kinney oversaw the construction of Morel Field House, an indoor facility shared by the baseball and softball programs.
Other improvements in Kinney's tenure include a new scoreboard, outfield fence and warning track, new infield mix and a shelter in the Lafayette bullpen. Prior to Lafayette, Kinney was the top assistant at Navy from 1992-99, helping guide the Midshipmen to four Patriot League titles and two NCAA East Regional appearances. His responsibilities included serving as the hitting and defensive coach, facility manager for the baseball complex, equipment manager and director of the Navy Baseball Camp.
Before Navy, Kinney was an assistant coach at Lehigh from 1990-92 where he was the hitting, defense and conditioning coach. While in Bethlehem, he completed his master's degree in Secondary Education. Kinney's time at Lehigh followed a stint at Columbia High School in his hometown of Maplewood, N.J., where he was the junior varsity baseball coach and freshman football coach.
Kinney graduated from Lehigh in 1988 with a degree in Economics. He enjoyed a four-year collegiate playing career with the Mountain Hawks, serving as captain of the 1987 and 1988 squads. Kinney and his wife, the former Susan Pitman, reside on College Hill with their daughters Annelise and Alexis.
Gregg Durrah has been in the dugout for Joe Kinney's entire tenure at Lafayette. Durrah works primarily as the Leopards' pitching coach while also assisting with recruiting efforts.
Prior to Lafayette, Durrah was an assistant coach at Easton High School from 1992-99 following stints as an assistant coach at Rutgers-Newark and Fairleigh Dickinson. Durrah, a four-year collegiate player for the Knights, graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in Business Management.
Durrah currently works as a probation officer for Northampton County and is also in the Marine Corps Reserve where he holds the rank of gunnery sergeant. He is also a Division I college basketball official. Durrah and his wife, Kendra, have two children, Sydney and Trey, and reside in Palmer Township, Pa.
Blake Smith enters his first season on College Hill. He will be working with the outfielders while aiding fellow assistant coach, Tanner Biagini, with the offense and hitting.
Smith spent the last two seasons at Eastern where he served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. The Belleville, Mich. native worked closely with the pitchers and catchers, while also assisting with the instruction of the Eagles’ hitters.
During that time he was also an instructor at the All-Star Baseball Academy in Broomall, Pa.,and an assistant coach for the Quakertown Blazers. With the Blazers, he served as a catching coach while also assisting with hitters.
Smith had a brief stint with the Gem City Throwbacks, an amateur baseball organization located in Dayton, Ohio in the summer of 2015 as an assistant coach. He worked directly with the Throwbacks' catchers, hitters and infielders.
As a player, Smith flourished as a four-year starter in college. He spent his first two seasons starting behind the plate at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich. During that time, he was a two-time NJCAA Academic All-American. Smith then moved on to Brescia University in Owensboro, Ky. and spent two years as a catcher and first baseman, helping the team achieve a program-best 35 wins in his junior season.