Billy O'Conner was named the seventh head coach of the Xavier baseball program in June of 2017 after a decorated playing career and six years on the staff as an assistant.
In his first four seasons, O'Conner led Xavier to an overall record of 80-102 with a 34-26 mark in BIG EAST play.
In 2021, Xavier earned the No. 4 seed to the BIG EAST Tournament, advancing to the championship series for a second-straight time and finishing runners-up after forcing a deciding game seven.
The Musketeers finished an abbreviated 2020 season at 5-10, finishing in the top 25 of the RPI after playing one of the five toughest strengths of schedule in the nation prior to the season being canceled in March.
In 2019, the Musketeers finished second in BIG EAST after going 12-4 in conference play, advancing to the championship series of the BIG EAST Tournament. Xavier finished the season at 27-31 overall.
During the 2018 season, XU went 20-35 overall with a 7-11 record in league play. His first career win came on Feb. 20, 2018 in a 3-2 win at No. 8 Kentucky in 10 innings. Despite a number of injuries, the Musketeers broke their program record with 68 homers and were again one of the top offenses in the BIG EAST during the 2018 season.
During his time on the staff, XU has posted three 30-win seasons, made three appearances in the NCAA Tournament and had eight players selected in the MLB First Year Player Draft. That number includes back-to-back years with multiple picks and a program record four selections in the 2017 draft.
AS AN ASSISTANT: O'Conner joined Xavier as an assistant for the 2014 season, serving in that role through the 2017 season, helping the Musketeers to three BIG EAST Championships in four years and back-to-back NCAA Tournament Regional Finals.
In 2017, Xavier went 34-27 overall and 10-6 in BIG EAST play, earning the No. 3 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament. The Musketeers won three straight in the conference championship to earn a second-straight NCAA tournament berth. Competing in the Louisville Regional, Xavier advanced to its second-straight NCAA Tournament Regional Final. Following the season, four Musketeers were drafted in the MLB First Year Players Draft.
In 2016, The Musketeers posted a 32-30 overall record and 14-4 record in BIG EAST play to claim the program's first BIG EAST regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament. Xavier won three straight in the tournament championship, including back-to-back wins over No. 2 seed Creighton, to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament Vanderbilt Regional, Xavier picked up wins over the No. 1 seed Vanderbilt and No. 3 Washington to earn the program's first trip to an NCAA Regional Final. Following the 2016 season, two Musketeers, Dan Rizzie and Andre Jernigan, were selected in the MLB First Year Players Draft.
During O'Conner's first two seasons with Xavier, the Musketeers collected 45 wins, including a 30-win campaign in 2014, and had a player selected in the MLB First Year Players Draft following each season. In Xavier's 2014 season, the Musketeers earned a No. 4 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament, winning 3-of-4 in the conference tournament to claim the conference title and earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. In the program's second-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Xavier competed in the Nashville Regional, picking up a 6-4 win over Clemson, the program's second-ever NCAA Tournament win.
Prior to his role as an assistant at Xavier, O'Conner spent one year as an assistant at Northern Kentucky and two years in the volunteer assistant role at Xavier.
O'Conner also managed the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League's Cincinnati Steam for three summers, leading the team to a first-place finish in 2012. O'Conner was named the 2012 Joe Carbone Manager of the Year for his efforts.
PLAYING CAREER: After beginning his collegiate career at Indiana University, O'Conner played his final two seasons at Xavier. He helped the Musketeers advance to their first NCAA Division I Tournament after capturing the 2009 Atlantic 10 Conference tournament championship. O'Conner was named the Most Outstanding Player of the A-10 Tournament.
As a senior captain, O'Conner batted .333 with two home runs and 39 RBIs and helped the 2009 team win 39 games, the highest single-season win total in program history. O'Conner was also a member of Xavier's 2008 squad that won the A-10 regular season crown.
At Xavier, O'Conner proved to be a standout student-athlete both on and off the field. Prior to his stint at XU, O'Conner was a key member of the Indiana University baseball team where he earned a Big Ten Conference Scholar-Athlete award.
O'Conner played two seasons at the professional level after graduating from Xavier. He spent one year as a member of the Texas Rangers organization, playing for the AZL Rangers and Spokane Indians, before playing one season for the Frontier League's Washington Wild Things.
PERSONAL: Outside of collegiate baseball, O'Conner has been active with the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund, the Vs. Cancer Foundation, and has been active in numerous community service projects, including Read Across America.
O'Conner is a Cincinnati, Ohio native, and earned his finance degree from Xavier in 2009.
Brian Furlong was named the Musketeers' pitching coach in July of 2018. He joined the Xavier staff as an assistant coach after two years as head coach at Heartland Community College.
During his first three season as part of the Musketeers' staff, Furlong helped improve the staff's ERA by nearly two runs against the overall schedule, and by over three runs in BIG EAST play. In 2021, the Musketeers set a program record for strikeouts per nine innings (8.4). Following the season, Nick Zwack was named First Team All-BIG EAST and was drafted in the 17th round by the Mets.
Following an abbreviated 2020 season where the Musketeers finished in the top 25 of the RPI after playing one of the five toughest strengths of schedule in the nation, five Musketeer pitchers were named to the D1 Baseball Top 100 List. Among those included were three freshman, tied for most in country, including Jack Lynch who was named a Freshman All-American.
During his first season with the Xavier program in 2019, Furlong coached a pair of Musketeer pitchers to All-Conference honors, with Conor Grammes being a unanimous selection to the All-BIG EAST First Team, and Lane Flamm earning All-BIG EAST Second Team honors. Grammes was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
During his two seasons as head coach at Heartland Community College, the Hawks went 85-26 and advanced to the 2018 Region 24 championship game after winning the MWAC Conference Championship. Furlong was named the MWAC Coach of the Year as the 2018 squad recorded the second-best grade point average in program history and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the country.
The Hawks set a program record for fielding percentage in 2018 and had nine players named to the NJCAA All-Academic Team. Heartland also boasted the 2018 National Defensive Player of the Year, MWAC Freshman of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.
In addition, a total of 31 players under Furlong continued to play after completing their Heartland career – with 18 of those moving on to Division I universities.
In 2018, Heartland saw 14 players go to Division I schools – a program record.
Prior to his stint at Heartland, Furlong spent three years at Creighton University where he helped the Bluejays set a program record with a team ERA of 3.15 in the 2016 season. CU led the BIG EAST in team ERA in both 2015 and 2016, while Furlong also tutored five of the top seven ERA leaders in school history.
Overall, Furlong developed some of the top pitchers in CU history, including 10 future professionals and the top four career leaders in winning percentage at the school.
Prior to Creighton, he was the director of baseball operations for the University of Iowa and a managing partner of a Diamond Dreams Sports Academy.
As a pitcher, Furlong played for Iowa State in 2001, Creighton in 2003 and the University of Iowa for the 2004-05 seasons. He was recognized as a Big 12 Conference Scholar Athlete and was named to the academic all-conference team for the Missouri Valley and the Big Ten.
Furlong earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Iowa in 2007.
Jake Yacinich returned to the Xavier Baseball staff in January 2020, rejoining the Musketeers' program as assistant baseball coach. Yacinich comes to Xavier from Iowa where he has served as a volunteer assistant since July 2019. Prior to joining Iowa's staff last summmer, Yacinich was a volunteer assistant for Xavier for the 2019 season.
"I'm very excited to have Jake back on the staff this year," said O'Conner. "He made a positive impact on our players last year, both from baseball development side and from the personal development side, too. He's a great teacher of the game and he's a great role model for our student-athletes."
Yacinich first joined the Xavier baseball program as volunteer assistant in December of 2018, spending the 2019 season with the program as Xavier collected 27 wins, including 12 BIG EAST victories as the Musketeers finished second in the conference and advanced to the Championship series of the BIG EAST Tournament. Yacinich worked with the Musketeers' infielders, helping the team finish fourth nationally in team fielding percentage (.982).
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Yacinich played three seasons collegiately as an infielder at Iowa (2012-14) where he was team captain, as well as a first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-Mideast Region shortstop in 2014. As a junior, he hit .365, ranking second in the Big Ten in batting average and steals (25), ranking in the top seven in the league in seven categories before being selected in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Following his junior season, Yacinich was drafted in the eighth round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels and spent five seasons in the Angels organization, reaching the AAA level of MiLB in 2017 before retiring to focus on coaching.
Yacinich completed a bachelor of science degree in health and human physiology from Iowa in 2018.
Xavier baseball head coach Billy O’Conner announced the addition of former University of Cincinnati standout Joey Bellini to his staff as a volunteer assistant in August 2021.
Bellini played three seasons for UC (2019-21), appearing in 116 games and starting in 114, primarily at shortstop. Originally from Winter Park, Fla., Bellini hit .305 as a Bearcat, finishing his career with 145 hits, including 31 doubles, and drove in 82 RBI.
Bellini earned a spot on the All-American Athletic Conference Second Team in 2021, starting in 51 games at shortstop where he helped UC lead the AAC in double plays turned. Bellini batted .311 in AAC games that season, and finished with 66 hits including 11 doubles, a triple and three home runs.
In 2020, Bellini was batting .429 through eight appearances before the season was canceled.
In 2019, he earned a spot on the AAC All-Tournament Team after helping the Bearcats to the AAC Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament berth.
Prior to his time at UC, Bellini played at St. John’s River State College in Florida, where he earned First Team Mid-Florida Conference and Second Team All-State as a part of the baseball program.
Bellini is two-time graduate of the University of Cincinnati, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Entrepreneurship in 2020, then completing his Master’s in Sport Administration in 2021. He also holds an Associate Arts Degree from St. John’s River State.