Head coach Charlie Hickey begins his 12th season at the helm of the Central Connecticut State University baseball program. In his previous 11 seasons, the Blue Devils have won four Northeast Conference titles, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament is each of those seasons.
Their most recent title came in 2010, when the Blue Devils put together the most productive offense season in school history, on their way to a 33-23 record. The Blue Devils won their fourth NEC title in 2010, advancing to the NCAA Regional that was held in nearby Norwich, CT. Central batted a school-record .341 as a team in 2010, good for first in the NEC and 12th in the country. Senior Sean Allaire was named the NEC Player of the Year after batting .426 and matching the school-record with 100 hits on the season. Central also set school records for runs scored (472), hits (679), batting average (.341), home runs (70) and runs batted in (441). With an 18-14 mark in the NEC the Blue Devils earned the third seed in the NEC Tournament. After dropping the second game of the weekend, Central won three straight, including two over top-seed Sacred Heart, to win their fourth NEC title in the last nine years. The 33 wins marked the fifth straight season, and the ninth time in 11 years that Hickey’s team won 25 or more games. Central placed five players on the First Team All-Conference squad following the season, the most of any team in the league.
The five All-Conference picks gives Hickey 42 All-Conference players in his 11 years at CCSU. He has also produced three Players of the Year (Tim D’Aquila in 2003, Keith Stegbauer in 2004, Allaire in 2010), one Pitcher of the Year (Barry Hertzler in 2003) and two Rookies of the Year (Phil Rothkugel in 2002 and D’Aquila in 2001).
Two years ago the Blue Devils finished with a 26-22 overall record, and a 16-11 mark in NEC play. They earned the third seed in the NEC Tournament which was held in New Britain.
In 2007 the Blue Devils finished fourth in the conference with a 14-14 league record but advanced to the NEC Tournament title game. They fell to Monmouth, 7-1, in the last game of the tournament. It marked their fifth trip to the NEC Championship game in six seasons. They finished the season with a 26-26 overall record.
In 2006 the Blue Devils were once again at the top of the NEC, winning the regular season championship with a 16-7 conference mark and advancing to their fourth NEC Championship game in five seasons. CCSU lost in the finals to Sacred Heart and finished the season with a 33-18 record, marking the fifth time in six years that they finished with at least 30 victories. For his team’s efforts during the 2006 season, Hickey was named the NEC Coach of the Year for the third time. The 33 wins were the most in the conference, and CCSU posted a league-best 17-8 record at home.
Hickey and the Blue Devils have been one of the most dominant teams in the NEC over the last 10 seasons. During that stretch, Central Connecticut has won 297 games, four conference titles and averaged just under 30 wins per season. Included in that stretch are four consecutive 30-win seasons from 2001-04, culminated by a school-record 41 wins in the 2004 season. The 2004 season marked the first time in school history that the team had won 30 or more games for four straight seasons.
In his 11 seasons Hickey has posted a 166-104 record in NEC action. During that time Central Connecticut has posted a 315-251-4 overall record. Entering the 2011 season his record stands at 421-312-4 in 14 total seasons at Providence and Central Connecticut.
Under Hickey, the Blue Devils set a then school-record in 2002 with 34 wins and made the program’s first trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament. Hickey and the Blue Devils repeated their NEC tournament title in 2003 and also grabbed the NEC regular season title with a 19-6 conference record. In 2004 Hickey and the Blue Devils brought the program to a new level. The team posted a 41-17-1 record, setting a school record for wins in a season (41), conference wins in a season (20) and after losing the first game in the NEC Tournament won four-straight tournament games to claim its third-straight conference title and NCAA Tournament bid.
Hickey came to the Blue Devils following a successful three-year stint at Providence College, where he finished with a record of 106-61. Providence discontinued its baseball program following the 1999 season. During his final season with the Friars, Hickey guided Providence to its first Big East Tournament title since 1992 and its first NCAA regional appearance since 1995. Providence finished second in the Tallahassee Regional to host Florida State. Under Hickey’s tutelage, the Friars set 18 school records and 10 individual records that season, most notably, winning a school and New England-record 49 games.
Hickey has also been an assistant coach for Cotuit Kettleers (1992-94) in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer League. He had the opportunity to coach former Friar and Boston Red Sox player Lou Merloni and has also coached future major leaguers John McDonald, Jermaine Allensworth and Brian Simmons. Hickey was the head coach of the Eastern Tides of the New England Collegiate Baseball League in the summer of 1996. He has coached both baseball and football at the high school level.