Mike Villano is in his fourth season as the head coach of Leatherneck Baseball.
In 2012, Villano continued his transformation of the Leatherneck pitching staff as Western lowered its team ERA to 4.85 with a 4.25 ERA belonging to his four weekend starters, Dan Russell, Rich Mascheri, Dustin Hunter and Nick Smith. He helped guide Hunter to a record-setting season where he struck out the most hitters ever in a season with 106, breaking a 44-year old program record. Hunter also finished his season leading the nation in Ks/9 at 12.55. In his third season at the helm, Villano picked up a win over the #8 Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga. on March 4. Villano has 52 career wins through his first three seasons, which is second most in program history. Stan Hyman had 66 wins in his first three seasons at Western.
Villano's second season was successful as he took the Leathernecks back to the Summit League Championship for the first time since 2008. He continued the transformation of Western's pitching staff by trimming the staff's ERA to 5.03. The Purple & Gold crushed 36 home runs on the season with a .270 batting average as a team. The 13 Summit League victories and the 21 overall victories are the most since 2008.
During his first season as head coach of the Fighting Leathernecks, Villano helped lower the team's ERA by over two runs and raised the team's batting average from .297 in 2009 to .312 in 2010.
He recorded his first career victory as a collegiate head coach in a 7-2 win over Furman in game two of an opening-day doubleheader on February 27, 2010. Villano's first win in Summit League play came in a 6-3 victory over North Dakota State on April 10.
Under his guidance, the Leathernecks saw improvements in nearly every statistical category during the 2010 campaign while posting more victories than the previous season.
Villano coached senior Jason Summers to all-Summit League second team honors and saw senior Cole Waddell elected to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic-All District Team.
During the 2010 season, six different Leathernecks recorded hitting streaks of at least 10 games and the team recorded double-digits in runs in nine games. The team finished the 2010 season ranked third in the league in team batting average (.312) and Summers finished first in individual batting with a .423 average.
The 2010 Leathernecks had seven different players finish in the top ten in various league hitting categories at the end of the season and had two pitchers rank in the top ten in both innings pitched and games started.
Villano came to Western after spending six seasons as an assistant coach at Central Michigan University where he served as the Chippewas' pitching coach, recruiting coordinator and the team's hitting coach.
In 2009, Villano's first year as a hitting coach, the Chippewas finished with a team batting average of .288, hit 36 home runs and picked up 352 RBI, each number higher than the 2008 campaign.
The Chippewas boasted one of the Mid-American Conference’s top pitching staffs throughout Villano’s tenure. During the 2008 campaign, CMU paced the Mid-American Conference in ERA (4.62) while issuing the fewest walks per nine innings (3.4) and tying for the fewest home runs allowed (37) and most complete games (seven).
In 2007, the Chippewas ranked second in the conference in team ERA (3.71), opponent batting average (.256), total strikeouts (387), and strikeouts per nine innings (7.01).
Anchoring the staff was 2007 MAC Pitcher of the Year and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Josh Collmenter. The third team All-American was 9-4 with a 1.93 ERA, including 8-1 with a 0.71 ERA in nine conference regular season starts.
Villano also aided in the development of Dan Taylor, who was 7-2 with a 3.49 ERA as the team’s No. 2 starter in 2007. He earned All-MAC Second Team accolades.
Villano helped the CMU pitching staff lower its ERA in each of his first two seasons. The staff’s collective ERA was 6.09 in 2003; he helped lower it to 4.82 in 2004 and a conference-best 3.31 in 2005. Opponent batting averages dropped from .311 in 2003 to .275 in 2004 and a MAC-leading .250 in 2005.
In 2006, Villano mentored a staff that led the conference in strikeouts per nine innings (7.42) and featured a second team All-MAC selection in Collmenter.
As recruiting coordinator, Villano oversaw the addition of a class which was ranked 27th nationally, and first in the Midwest, by Collegiate Baseball in 2006.
Villano spent one season as an assistant coach at Oakland University prior to arriving at CMU. Working primarily with the pitchers, he helped lower the staff’s ERA from 7.00 to 4.90 and opponents’ batting average from .297 to .277.
Villano enjoyed a successful collegiate and professional playing career before joining the coaching ranks. He was a four-time all-conference selection at Saginaw Valley State University and was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 1991.
He was drafted in the 24th round by the San Francisco Giants in 1994 and played pro baseball for nine seasons. Villano spent six years at the AAA level with various teams before being called up to the majors by the Florida Marlins in 1998.
Villano earned his bachelor’s degree from Saginaw Valley in 2001. He also earned a master's degree in physical education from CMU in 2008.