Head Coach Tracy Woodson
Tracy Woodson enters his seventh season at the helm of the Spider Baseball program in 2020. His baseball career has taken him from coast-to-coast, but baseball brought him home in 2013 when he was introduced as the eighth head baseball coach in the program's 110-plus year history.
During his 12-year career in college baseball, Woodson has coached 44 All-Conference players, three All-Americans, 20 All-Academic honorees, one conference Player of the Year, two conference Pitchers of the Year and three NCAA Regional All-Tournament selections.
Additionally, he has seen 13 players selected in the Major League Draft. Five players from his time at Valparaiso were selected including Kyle Gaedele, who became the Crusaders’ highest draft pick ever after being selected in the sixth round by the San Diego Padres in 2011. Since taking over the Spiders program, Woodson saw two players go in the 2015 draft in Matt Dacey (21st round - Tampa Bay Rays) and Tanner Stanley (36th round - Kansas City Royals). 2016 and 2017 had one Spider selected each in Tyler Beckwith (17th round - Washington Nationals) Keenan Bartlett (31st round - San Francisco Giants), respectively. The last two seasons have seen two Spiders get drafted each year. 2018 it was Layne Looney (19th round - Chicago Cubs) and Vinny Capra (20th round - Toronto Blue Jays) and the 2019 draft saw Kyle Schmidt (33rd round - Minnesota Twins) and D.J. Lee (39th round - Oakland Athletics) enter the professional ranks.
During Woodson’s five seasons in Richmond, the Spiders have piled up 157 wins and have continued to be near the top of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
This past season, Richmond earned the No. 5 seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament at Fordham after going 28-25-1 during the season and 13-8 in league play. The Spiders had four players earn All A-10 honors as third baseman Tyler Plantier and outfielder Anthony Forte were named First Team All-Atlantic 10 selections. Kyle Schmidt earned a spot on the A-10 Second Team and Johnny Hipsman was a member of the All-Freshman team. Throughout the season, Richmond stacked up the weekly A-10 awards, earning 10 throughout the season, five Players of the Week, four Rookies of the Week and a Pitcher of the Week. The 10 honorees were the most of any school in the league during the year, and the most total weekly awards in program history, and the most Player of the Week awards since the 2016 season. The Spiders started the season hot, winning its first six games of the year. Richmond swept the Atlanta Challenge, defeating Georgia State, a ranked-Georgia Tech team and Kennesaw State before sweeping the home opening series against Bowling Green the following weekend. Throughout the year, Richmond won nine weekend series, sweeping three teams along the way. The Spiders finished the A-10 schedule strong, winning the last five A-10 series, and handing cross-town rival VCU its only conference series loss of the season. The Spiders continued their success against the Rams in the consolation round of the A-10 tournament, defeating the Regular Season Champion 6-2. The 2019 Spider offense found a power surge, hitting 54 team home runs, more than the combined total of the 2017 and 2018 teams, ranking second in the A-10 and ranking 60th in the nation. Richmond's patient approachat the plate continued during the 2019 campaign, drawing 294 walks to lead the league and rank 30th nationally.
The Spiders bounced back in 2018, finishing the year 32-24, the most wins in a season in the Woodson-era. Vinny Capra, Justin Cook and Tim Miller earned All-Atlantic 10 honors. Capra and Cook were second team honorees and Miller, the Friday night starter, was named to the All-Rookie team following his redshirt freshman season. Richmond finished the conference season with a 15-9 A-10 record, earning the No. 4 seed in the A-10 Tournament, hosted by the George Washington Colonials. Richmond won 10 weekend series and swept Towson and La Salle. D.J. Lee led the Spiders with 19 stolen bases, the most in a single season for a Spider since the 2010 campaign. Following the season, Richmond had a pair of players drafted as Layne Looney was selected in the 19th round by the Chicago Cubs, and Vinny Capra was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 20th round.
2017 saw the Spiders hit a bit of a rough patch as the team finished the season just 17-36. Junior transfer Vinny Capra was a dominating force at the plate, hitting for a team-high .355 average in 51 games and slugged a team-best 14 doubles and four home runs as he earned second team All-Atlantic 10 honors. The Spider offense hit for a .280 average in 53 games and saw Keenan Bartlett be taking by the San Francisco Giants in the MLB Draft in June. During the 2017 campaign, the Spiders earned wins over in-state foes Longwood, George Washington and Old Dominion, and notched league wins over Dayton, George Washington, Saint Louis, Saint Joseph's and Rhode Island.
The 2016 season got off to its best start under Woodson at the time, as the Spiders won nine of the first 10 games, the best start in over a decade - along with posting its highest batting average (.308) in a decade. The Spiders also recorded 28 wins in both 2015 and 2016, the most wins for the program since 2013. Individually, Michael Morman, who played for Woodson at Valparaiso before transferring to Richmond, was named an All-American by two organizations and became just the second player in program history to be named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. In his first year at the helm, the Spiders led the Atlantic 10 in home runs (36) and ranked in the top-five in the league in nearly every offensive category.
Woodson’s baseball career began not far from Pitt Field. He attended nearby Bendictine High School before becoming a standout at North Carolina State. He was named ACC Player of the Year and a Second Team All-American in 1984. In 2002, Woodson was selected to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary Team and was inducted into the NC State Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
A third-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1984, Woodson began his professional career, playing for legendary Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda. Woodson was a member of the 1988 World Series Championship Dodger team, playing the hot corner. Woodson played with the Dodgers for three seasons (1987-89) and played with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1992-93.
In the minor leagues, Woodson was named the New York Yankees AAA Most Valuable Player with Columbus, was a member of three Triple-A championship teams, and a Triple-A All-Star in 1988. He also played in the Double-A All-Star game in 1986. In 1991, Woodson had his first stint at home, playing for his hometown Triple-A Richmond Braves.
Woodson’s professional coaching career began in 1997 as the hitting coach for the Carolina Mudcats (the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates). The next year he served as the manager of minor league clubs in Rookie League ball until his final season in 2004.
Prior to getting into college coaching, Woodson was the manager of the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League (the Triple-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins). The year before he led the Mudcats to the Southern League championship and was named the manager of the Southern League All-Stars. Additionally, he was named Baseball America’s Future’s Game Coach for top minor league managers.
In August 2006, Woodson was named the 16th head coach at Valparaiso, inheriting a team that went 17-34 the previous season. Just two years removed, he guided the team to winning record in 2009, the program’s first in a decade, setting the stage for the Crusaders’ return to national prominence.
During his tenure at Valparaiso (2007-13), he guided the Crusaders to back-to-back Horizon League titles in 2012 and 2013, ending a 44-year NCAA Tournament drought. In the 2013 NCAA Regional, Valpo knocked off Florida for the school’s first tournament win since 1966. Woodson left the Valpo program as its third winningest coach (187 wins), back-to-back 30-plus win seasons, and the 2012 Horizon League Coach of the Year.
Woodson’s Crusader teams were just as successful in the classroom as they were on the field. During his seven season, Valparaiso ranked in the top ten percent of all NCAA teams in multi-year APR performance, while the team’s GPA improved from 2.7 in 2007 to 3.3 in 2013.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education/sports management from Valparaiso in 2010, where he graduate summa cum laude.
Woodson and his wife, Lisa, have two children – Erin, who was born in 2004 and T.J., who was born in 2006. He also has a son, Michael, who was born in 1989. On November 3, 2017 Woodson became a grandfather as his son Michael and his wife welcomed their daughter Jordyn Maria and he welcomed his second grandchild, Kiley Shay on September 18th, 2019.