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 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.
O'Conner recently completed his fourth season as an assistant on the XU staff during the 2016-17 season, helping the Musketeers to a third BIG EAST Championship in four years and a second straight NCAA Tournament Regional Final.
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.
BEFORE XAVIER: Prior to his current role, 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 joins the Xavier staff as an assistant coach after two years as head coach at Heartland Community College.
During his two seasons as head coach, the Hawks went 85-26 and advanced to this past season's Region 24 championship game after winning a division title. The 2018 squad recorded the second-best grade point average in program history. 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.
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. Furlong also helped develop some of the top pitchers in CU history, including 10 future professionals.
Prior to Creighton, he was a general manager for Diamond Dreams, Inc. and a baseball instructor for BASH Sports Academy. Furlong also worked for the University of Iowa as the director of baseball operations.
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 2005.
Cousino was named volunteer assistant baseball coach in July of 2018. He joins Xavier from Mississippi State, where he served in a graduate assistant role as the Bulldogs advanced to the College World Series for the 10th time in program history.
Selected in the third round of the 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Seattle Mariners, Cousino played three seasons in the minor leagues before retiring after the 2016 season to pursue a coaching career.
A center fielder at the University of Kentucky, Cousino was the 2012 SEC Freshman of the Year and a three-time Rawlings Gold Glove winner for the Wildcats. He played on a pair of NCAA Tournament teams in 2012 and 2014, capping his career as a CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2014.
Cousino was also a three-time member of USA Baseball national teams, playing with the 16U team in 2009 and spending 2012-13 with the collegiate team.
Jake Yacinich joined the Xavier baseball program as volunteer assistant in December of 2018.
Yacinich played three seasons collegiately as an infielder at Iowa and was drafted in the eighth round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels. He spent five seasons in the Angels organization and reached the AAA level of MiLB in 2017 before retiring to focus on coaching.
A First Team All-Big Ten shortstop at Iowa, Yacinich was a team captain and hit .365 as a junior before heading into the draft. He completed his bachelor of science degree in health and human physiology in 2018.
Matthew James joined the Xavier baseball program in December of 2018 in the Director of Baseball Operations role.
James arrived at XU from Heartland Community College, where he was an assistant coach for two seasons. He was a starting pitcher and infielder at Illinois from 2013-17, helping the Illini to a 2015 Big Ten Championship and NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2015.
At Heartland, he helped the Hawks to a 46-10 record and an MWAC Championship in 2017. A program record 14 players moved on to Division I schools under his tutelage.
He graduated with a bachelor of science in recreation, sport and tourism in 2017.