DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White announced Thursday that the school and head baseball coach Chris Pollard have agreed to a contract extension through June 30, 2025.
“What Chris Pollard has accomplished with the Duke Baseball program is nothing short of astonishing,” White said. “To be sure, we are beyond thrilled that an elite coach such as Chris will lead Duke Baseball well into the future, which has never looked brighter. The extension represents an outstanding track record, including the program’s first two NCAA bids since 1961, five consecutive 30-win seasons, Duke’s first NCAA Super Regional appearance, compiling the most overall and ACC victories in a season and watching a program-tying record seven players selected in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.”
“First and foremost, I am thrilled to stay at Duke for a very long time,” Pollard said. “My family and I love Duke and the Durham community. I want to express my sincere appreciation to Dr. Price, Dr. White and Brad Berndt for demonstrating continued confidence in me and our staff to lead this program.”
Pollard became Duke’s 25th head baseball coach in June of 2012 and has revitalized the program in six seasons at the helm, including a historic 2018 campaign.
Ranked in the preseason for the first time in program history, the 2018 Blue Devils lived up to the early season hype, recording the first 40-win season in program history while also earning a program-record 18 ACC wins and winning the NCAA Athens Regionals to advance to the first NCAA Super Regional in school history.
Baseball America ranked Duke in its top 25 for 13 weeks during the regular season, more than doubling the total number of weeks the Blue Devils were ranked in the first 36 years of the publication’s rankings (6). With a 45-18 overall record, Duke not only set a program record for wins in a season but also reached 30 wins for the fifth straight year, the program’s longest such stretch since the Blue Devils compiled a run of seven-straight 30-win campaigns from 1992-98.
“I am very proud of what this 2018 squad accomplished,” Pollard added. “They will be forever remembered as one of the best teams in program history. However, there are goals we have not yet reached. With a supportive administration, great staff and hungry group of players, I have no doubt we will get there.”
Just two years earlier, Pollard led Duke to an at-large bid to the 2016 NCAA Tournament, ending the program’s 55-year drought without making the postseason event.
The first head coach to lead Duke to the NCAA Tournament since the Kennedy administration, Pollard is also the fastest Blue Devil head coach to reach 100 wins in Durham, compiling a 198-146 overall record at Duke. During his tenure, 25 Duke players have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Off the field, Duke led the league with nine 2018 All-ACC Academic Team honorees as the team earned a collective 3.302 GPA for the year. In addition to ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award honors, the Blue Devils have also garnered ACC Top Six for Service Award accolades during Pollard’s tenure.
“In addition to this massive success on the baseball field,” White continued. “The young men playing under Chris represent this community, University and their respective families in an exemplary fashion. That is a testament to Coach Pollard’s immense influence on their lives as players, and more importantly, as young men.”
A native of Lynchburg, Va., Pollard graduated from Davidson College in 1996 before beginning his coaching career at his alma mater. Prior to his arrival at Duke, Pollard served as the head coach at Pfeiffer University and Appalachian State University, leading both programs 40-win seasons and conference championships.
Duke’s coaching staff added 14 newcomers to the 2019 Blue Devil roster, joining the likes of Freshman All-American Joey Loperfido and All-ACC Academic selections Bryce Jarvis and Matt Dockman. Left-hander Graeme Stinson is currently pitching with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, while Jarvis, Stinson and Adam Laskey are all competing in the prestigious Cape Code League this summer.
“I feel blessed to work alongside the best staff in the country,” Pollard said. “They are proven, professional and relentless. We have a talented group of returning players, another great recruiting class arriving Sunday and highly ranked commitments spread across the country. I am excited to keep moving forward with Duke Baseball.”