Saint Joseph's baseball's all-time leader in coaching victories, Fritz Hamburg is now in his 11th season as the head coach of the Hawks.
Since taking over the Hawk baseball program, Hamburg has guided the team to heights never before seen by the Crimson and Gray as the Hawks tied the school record for wins in a season in 2012 before breaking it in both 2013 and 2014. His 2016 squad then went on to become the program's second team to reach the 30-win plateau, while the senior class of 2016 posted the most victories of any four-year class in school history. Hamburg has led the Hawks to eight consecutive 20-plus win seasons, the only coach in Saint Joseph's history to achieve that feat.
Hamburg's tenure has included three Liberty Bell Classic championships (2012, 2014, 2016) and three trips to the Atlantic 10 Championship (2012, 2014, 2016). Prior to his arrival on campus, the Hawks had never won the LIberty Bell Classic, nor qualified for the Atlantic 10 postseason.
Over the course of his extensive coaching career, Hamburg has established a reputation as one of the nation's finest tutors of young pitchers and catchers and has brought his track record of success to his first head coaching job, as evidenced by former SJU hurlers Ryan Kemp and A.J. Holland being selected in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Jimmy Yacabonis followed in their footsteps when he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 13th round of the 2013 Draft, while backstop Brian O'Keefe was a seventh-round selection of the St. Louis Cardinals and righthander Jordan Carter went in the 22nd round to the Cleveland Indians in 2014.
Another catcher, Deon Stafford, Jr., became SJU's highest draft pick in 38 years when he was chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fifth round in 2017. Righthander Tim Brennan became the seventh of Hamburg's Hawks to be drafted when he was selected in the seventh round by the Texas Rangers in 2018. A number of his Hawks have signed professional free agent contracts as well.
Brennan highlighted the Hawks' 2018 campaign, posting a 9-3 record and a 2.94 earned run average while leading the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio and walks-per-nine innings. He was selected by the Rangers in the seventh round after earning First Team All-ECAC, Second Team All-Atlantic 10, Second Team All-Region, and All-Philadelphia Big 5 honors. Brennan was also tabbed as the Big 5 Pitcher of the Year; he was joined on the All-Big 5 Team by Justin Aungst and Charlie Concannon, while the Hawks earned their fourth Big 5 Team of the Year award. Hamburg was feted by the organization as well, pulling in his fifth Coach of the Year honor.
The 2017 season saw the Hawks win 20 games for the seventh consecutive season and reach double-digit victories in Atlantic 10 play for the eighth year in a row. Catcher Deon Stafford, Jr., earned All-Conference First Team honors for the second consecutive season before being selected by the Pirates in the fifth round of the MLB Draft in June. Later that month, the program saw the third major leaguer in its history as Yacabonis was called up by the Orioles.
In 2016, Hamburg led the Hawks to their second 30-win season in program history, and second in three years, as SJU notched 31 wins en route to a third-place finish in the Atlantic 10. Hamburg guided Stafford to multiple Player of the Year awards, All-Region honors, and a Third Team All-America selection. Stafford was joined on the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team by John Brue, who became just the fourth Hawk to be named to the league's First Team in consecutive seasons.
Hamburg also guided Brennan, Concannon, and Lucas Rollins to Atlantic 10 All-Rookie honors. Brennan was named the Philadelphia Big 5 Baseball Co-Pitcher and Rookie of the Year, while Concannon was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America honoree.
As a team, Saint Joseph's enjoyed another banner season, claiming the Liberty Bell Classic title, qualifying for the Atlantic 10 Championship, and being voted the Big 5 Team of the Year, all for the third time in five seasons.
With a 10-2 win at La Salle on May 7, Hamburg notched his 185th victory in a Saint Joseph's uniform, making him the program's all-time leader in coaching victories. He later added his fourth Big 5 Coach of the Year award in eight seasons.
Hamburg's 2015 squad reached the 20-win plateau for the fifth consecutive season, marking the first time the Hawks achieved that milestone in program history. Their 11 wins in league play marked the sixth year in a row that SJU reached double-digits in conference victories; prior to Hamburg's arrival, the Hawks had notched 10-plus league wins just five times. Brue set a then-program record with 13 home runs during the 2015 campaign en route to All-Atlantic 10 First Team honors, while Stafford was named to the Second Team and earned Freshman All-America accolades as well. Both Stafford and Justin Aungst, who led the A-10 in earned run average, were chosen to the All-Rookie Team.
The 2014 season may go down as one of the greatest campaigns in the history of Saint Joseph's athletics, as the Hawks shattered the school record with 35 wins en route to a second place finish in the Atlantic 10 and SJU's second A-10 Championship berth in three years. The Hawks broke a number of team and individual records throughout the season and ranked among the NCAA statistical leaders in over a dozen categories. Collin Forgey became SJU's first-ever Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Carter earned the Hawks' first-ever Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year honor, and Hamburg himself became the first SJU head coach to earn the league's Coach of the Year award. The trio also swept the Big 5 awards – Hamburg's third Big 5 Coach of the Year honor in his six seasons on Hawk Hill – and the Hawks were named the organization's Team of the Year for the second time in three seasons. Also for the second time in three years, Saint Joseph's won the Liberty Bell Classic title, topping La Salle at Citizens Bank Park on April 22.
In 2013, Hamburg led the Hawks to a then-school record for wins in a season with a 26-26 overall mark, the first time Saint Joseph's posted a .500 or better winning percentage since 1993. Playing one of the tougher schedules in the conference, the Hawks also posted a 12-12 record in Atlantic 10 play, giving SJU four consecutive seasons of double-digit conference victories for the first time in program history. Hamburg's squads have won 11 or more conference games in four straight seasons after having achieved the feat just once before 2010.
2012 was a banner year for baseball on Hawk Hill as Hamburg's charges became the first Saint Joseph's squad to qualify for the Atlantic 10 Championship. The Hawks won a pair of games in the tournament, signalling their arrival in the Bronx with a 3-0 shutout of third-seeded Rhode Island in their first game before eliminating the Rams two days later. The tournament appearance came on the heels of a 13-10 conference mark, SJU's first winning record in conference play since 1984. The 2012 Hawks also achieved another first for the program on April 17 when they defeated Penn, 6-3, at Citizens Bank Park to claim SJU's first-ever Liberty Bell Classic title. In addition, Saint Joseph's opened the new John W. Smithson Field on the Maguire Campus with a 5-1 win over Iona on March 9. The game marked the first varsity baseball contest on the Saint Joseph's campus since 1958. Pitcher Kyle Mullen became the first Hawk starting pitcher in program history to be named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team and was named the Philadelphia Big 5 Baseball Pitcher of the Year. First baseman Kevin Taylor was an All-Conference First Team selection as well, while the squad was named the Big 5 Team of the Year and Hamburg pulled in Big 5 Coach of the Year honors for the second time in four seasons.
In 2011, the Hawks posted their second consecutive double-digit win total in conference play, which had not been done since SJU won 10 league games in each season from 2001-03. The team also won at least 20 games for the first time in a decade, and its 21 wins were the most against Division I competition since the 1999 season. After the season, Kemp and Holland were selected in the 14th and 16th rounds of the MLB Draft by Cincinnati and Atlanta, respectively.
His 2010 Hawk squad set a school record, winning 13 conference games, and entered the final weekend of the season in contention for SJU's first-ever Atlantic 10 Tournament berth. The senior-laden squad posted a 13-9 record at Campbell's Field in their first season at their new home park.
In his first season at Saint Joseph's, Hamburg's charges improved from last place in the conference to a tie for 11th, the squad's best finish in four years. The 2009 Hawks saw a 12-point jump in the team's batting average as well as marked increases in both slugging percentage and on-base percentage. The team also shattered the previous school record when they were hit by 104 pitches. For his efforts, Hamburg was selected as the Big 5 Baseball Coach of the Year.
Hamburg came to Hawk Hill after eight years at the United States Military Academy, first as an assistant coach and later as the associate head coach. While at West Point, Hamburg was named the 2007 Baseball America/American Baseball Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year. During his tenure there, he worked with the Black Knight pitching staff, leading them to new heights in the national statistical rankings. From 2004-06, the Army pitchers improved from 12th to eighth to seventh in the country in earned run average. During that three-year stretch, Army was the only program in Division I to rank in the top 12 in ERA every season. Over the four-year span between 2004 and 2007, the Black Knight pitching staff recorded 22 shutouts and its members received 13 All-Patriot League awards.
Hamburg guided former SJU pitching coach Nick Hill to Patriot League Pitcher of the Year honors in 2004, 2005, and 2007. Hill became the first player in league history to earn the honor outright three times and was also the first Black Knight to receive All-America honors in back-to-back seasons. Hill and fellow pitcher Milan Dinga were drafted in the seventh and 10th rounds, respectively, of the 2007 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft; they were the first Army players ever selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft.
An All-American backstop himself, Hamburg also assisted with the Army catchers during his tenure there. One of his players, Schuyler Williamson, was named 2004 Patriot League Player of the Year and was selected in the 2005 MLB Draft. In addition to Williamson, Hill, and Dinga, eight other Black Knights were drafted during Hamburg's time at West Point, while a grand total of six players received All-American accolades.
Prior to his stint at the Military Academy, Hamburg served as an assistant coach at Cornell, New Mexico State, Cal-Poly Pomona, Georgia and his alma mater, Ithaca College. He has also served as a summer league head coach in both the Northeast Collegiate Baseball League and the Valley Baseball League.
A native of Doylestown, Pa., Hamburg began his collegiate playing career at Virginia Tech before transferring to Ithaca. It was there that he earned All-America honors and helped lead the Bombers to a Division III national championship in 1988. The 1989 graduate then spent a year in the Philadelphia Phillies organization before embarking on his coaching career.
Hamburg and his wife, Annemarie, have two daughters, Charlotte and Brenna. Brenna is a 2014 graduate of Saint Joseph's.