Casey Danley hit a normal single, and changed the history of Missouri Western Baseball for years to come without even knowing it. His hit pushed coach Buzz Verduzco’s win total to 541, making him the all-time program wins leader.
Verduzco is just the second head coach in the history of the MWSU Baseball program and has an overall record of 533-390, winning his 500th game at the MIAA Tournament in a memorable 2016 season. Verduzco has led the Griffons to one MIAA Regular Season Championship (2013) and four NCAA Regional berths. Through his first 18 seasons leading the program, the Griffons have experienced just three losing seasons and only one since 2001. Verduzco was named MIAA Coach of the Year after the team won the 2013 MIAA Regular Season Championship.
Verduzco’s teams have had a knack for starting slower and gaining steam as the year rolls on going 3-3, 2-4 and 3-3, between 2016-2018 respectively. This year started out rough for Verduzco’s squad but recently they’ve been on a run with nine straight wins including last nights 11 inning win over Emporia State.
One-hundred Griffons have been named All-MIAA under Verduzco, including a program record 12 All-MIAA selections in 2017. Verduzco coached 2013 MIAA Pitcher of the Year Brandon Simmons and MIAA Player of the Year Michael Schulze. Schulze was also named the Daktronics National Player of the Year. Five different Griffons were named to All-American teams in 2013 and became five of the eight Griffons to be named All-American under Verduzco.
Three of Verduzco’s players have been selected in the MLB Amateur Player Draft, most recently Michael Schulze (19th round-St. Louis) and Grant Fink (23rd round-Cleveland) in 2013.
Athletic Director Josh Looney has seen and understands the impact Verduzco has had on the Missouri Western Griffons baseball team.
“Buzz is a pillar of consistency in the Missouri Western athletic department. He’s experienced much success and navigated many athletic transformations during his 19 seasons leading our baseball program.” Looney said. “His history and success at MWSU make him a respected member on campus, but his relatable personality and everyday approach to developing our student-athletes makes him an leader within our department.”
A native of Stockton, California, Verduzco came to Missouri Western from Washington State University where he was an assistant for the Cougar program for over 10 seasons. He served as the Cougars’ hitting and outfield coach as well as the primary recruiting coordinator. Verduzco also directed the Cougar baseball camps and was the coordinator of alumni relations for the NCAA Division I program. Verduzco earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington State in 1985. Verduzco played and coached under legendary coach “Bobo” Brayton at Washington State.
Looney continued to talk about Verduzco.
“Baseball has built an engaged alumni base thanks to the positive experiences Buzz has created for baseball student-athletes.” Looney said. “Buzz has won a lot of games for the Griffons, and he will continue to win more, but it is all the things he does off the diamond that makes him truly unique.”