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.
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.
Zak Wasserman joined Billy O'Conner's baseball staff in Spring 2022 after serving as head coach at Lake Michigan College.
Wasserman, who joins the Musketeers program as a volunteer assistant, had served as head baseball coach at Lake Michigan College since 2018, leading the Red Hawks to 29 wins in 2021. During his time at Lake Michigan, Wasserman coached the Conference Player of the Year in 2021 and led the seventh best NJCAA DII offense in the country.
Prior to his time at Lake Michigan, Wasserman played minor league ball in both the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations.
His pro career followed a stand-out collegiate career at Louisville, where he was a four-year letter winner, earning the starting position at first base for three seasons. During his senior season, Wasserman was the captain for the squad that advanced to the 2013 College World Series. He finished his career at Louisville tied for ninth in career games played, appearing in 212 games as a Cardinal.
Wasserman, who is originally from Stevensville, Mich., graduated from Louisville in 2013 with a Bachelors in Sports Administration and minor in History. He also earned a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Trine University in 2020.