Ron Torgalski is entering his 11th season as the head coach of the University at Buffalo baseball team in 2017, his 17th season overall with the program. Torgalski spent seven seasons as an assistant coach with the team before being named head coach in July, 2006.
Last season, Torgalski saw his team go 21-31 overall with a 8-16 MAC mark. Under Torgalski’s watchful eye, junior Vinny Mallaro turned in one of the best hitting seasons in program history as he batted .351 while tying a program record with 13 home runs, ranking second in program history in RBI (52) and notching 122 total bases. Mallaro and fellow junior pitcher Alec Tuohy each earned First Team All-MAC honors for their play in 2016.
Following the 2016 campaign, junior pitcher Mike Kaelin was drafted in the 15th round (456 overall) of the MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels. Junior relief pitcher Blair Lakso also signed a professional contract following the season with the Minnesota Twins.
Off the field, the Bulls had their best season in the classroom to date under Torgalski’s watch as UB saw a program record six players earn Academic All-MAC honors while Alec Tuohy also earned MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete recognition, first UB baseball player to earn that praise.
In his ninth season at the helm of the Bulls in 2015, Torgalski guided UB to a 16-35 overall record and a 7-20 mark in MAC play. He coached junior Nick Sinay into a first-team All-MAC selection as well as a 22nd round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays.
In 2014, the Bulls closed out a successful campaign with a 26-26 overall record and advanced to their second MAC semifinal in three seasons. Despite the semifinal defeat, the Bulls finished the 2014 season with the second highest win total of the modern era (26) and fourth most all-time.
Last season, the Bulls saw three players named to All-MAC teams while a pair of players, Mike Burke and Tyler Mautner, were selected in the 2014 MLB draft. It marked the first time since 1983 that the program had two players selected in the same draft. Mautner was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 14th round (410 overall) while Burke was taken in the 30th round (901 overall).
The 2013 season was a special one for Torgalski and his staff, as the team won 33 games to set an all-time program record for wins in a season. The Bulls won 19 games in the Mid-American Conference season, another record, and lost out on the regular season title on the last day of the season. The team won all nine weekend conference series, and never had a losing streak longer than three games.
For his efforts, he was named the MAC Coach of the Year, while his senior center fielder Jason Kanzler was named the conference’s player of the year. After a program-best eight weekly awards were earned by UB players over the course of the season, six players made the All-MAC postseason teams to set another program high-water mark. For the second straight season, the team made the MAC tournament, playing in three games.
In his time at UB, Torgalski has established a respective program with many notable accomplishments including the program’s first-ever appearance in the Mid-American Conference tournament in 2012, where the team won two games and made the semifinal round before bowing out to eventual champion Kent State. It was also the third 20-win season for the team under Torgalski’s leadership, and with a 6-2 win over Toledo on May 6, 2012, he passed the 100-win mark for his career as a head coach.
After the season ended, a pair of UB players received an opportunity to continue their careers on the professional level, with Tom Murphy and Cameron Copping joining the farm systems of the Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners, respectively. Also in the postseason, Jason Kanzler was awarded a Rawlings Gold Glove, and Pollock and Murphy made the Mideast Region Teams.
Under Torgalski’s guidance in 2011, sophomore catcher Tom Murphy was named the Mid-American Conference’s Player of the Year, the highest award earned by a Buffalo player in the modern era of the program. In 2012, the program put four player on the postseason All-Conference teams, nearly doubling its all-time total in one go-around. Tom Murphy and Matt Pollock were first teamers, while Jason Kanzler and Cameron Copping made the second team.
In Torgalski’s tenure, 13 players have signed contracts with Major League Baseball teams, most recently in 2015 with Nick Sinay. In 2014, Torgalski saw two guys sign pro deals, Mike Burke and Tyler Mautner. UB Standout Tom Murphy was drafted in the third round by the Colorado Rockies, making him the highest UB player drafted in the modern era of the program. With his selection, Murphy becomes the fourth player drafted since UB reinstated baseball for the 2000 season. Zach Anderson was drafted in the 29th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009, Mike Folli was drafted in the 42nd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007, and Joe Mihalics was drafted in the 34th round of the 2005 draft by the New York Mets. Copping signed with the Mariners just a week after his battery mate Murphy, becoming the 11th player to sign a MLB contract under Torgalski’s leadership.
Other past free agent signees from UB include 2008 graduate Steve Geltz, who currently pitches for the Tampa Bay Rays, and 2010 graduate Chaz Mye signed with the Oakland A’s. Geltz just finished his first full season in the majors last season with Tampa Bay with appearing in 70 games while earning a 2-6 record with a 3.74 ERA. Geltz also earned his first two saves of his MLB career.
The team had a record-breaking season in 2009, when the Bulls made tremendous strides in several offensive categories by setting all-time single team records for most hits (591), runs (424), RBI (384) and walks (253). In 2012, the team broke another program record after clubbing 56 home runs and 135 doubles in a school record 56 games, also setting the record for total bases (931). The team turned to its pitching staff in 2013, though, posting a team earned run average of 3.72, the lowest since the 1973 season.
In the past eight years, Torgalski and his coaching staff have enjoyed conference success in the naming of 22 Bulls as All-MAC selections. The Bulls’ accomplishments are found not only on the diamond but in the classroom as well with another four players being named to the All-MAC academic team. The Bulls have displayed academic excellence in achieving their highest team GPA under Torgalski. These accomplishments are examples of Torgalski’s influence in motivating these young men for athletic and academic success.
Torgalski has enjoyed success in coaching baseball as he was head coach of the New Hartford American Legion team that finished as the New York State runner-up. While Torgalski seems like a baseball guys all the way, he has also served as an assistant coach in basketball at the collegiate level. He spent six seasons as an assistant coach at UB and also for three seasons at his alma mater, Hamilton College, where he helped lead the team to a No. 1 national ranking in the final poll in 1990-91.
Torgalski attended Nichols High School in Buffalo, NY, where he was an All-Western New York player in both baseball and basketball. While at Nichols, Torgalski teamed up with former NBA star Christian Laettner and guided the team to a New York State Class ‘C’ title and was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player. In recognition of his accomplishments, Torgalski was named to the Nichols Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
From there, he went on to letter in both sports at Hamilton College. As a basketball player, his 10.6 assists per game average in 1989 still ranks as the third-best ever in NCAA Division III history. After graduation from Hamilton in 1989, Torgalski went to Sweden and played professionally with the Monstreas Club basketball team before coming back to UB.
Torgalski’s heart took him back to baseball and when UB decided to bring the sport back to Division I status in 1999-2000, it was Torgalski that former head coach Bill Breene wanted as his right-hand man.
Torgalski, who earned his masters of science in education from Canisius in 2003, is a member of the National Baseball Coaches Association and the New York State Coaches Association. He resides in Williamsville and has two sons, Nicholas and Tyler.
• 2013 MAC Coach of the Year
• Two MAC Players of the Year
• 48 MAC weekly honorees
• Eight MLB draft picks
• Four Freshman All-Americans
• 25 All-MAC selections
• 14 Academic All-MAC honorees
• 16 pro contract signees