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The search took months and spanned the entire country, but Penn baseball ultimately decided the answer to its head coaching needs by looking on its very campus.

Athletic Director Steve Bilsky has decided to promote top assistant coach John Yurkow to the position of head coach.

For the last seven years, Yurkow’s duties included coordinating all recruiting, hitting and infield instruction as well as coaching third base.

“This is a tremendous opportunity, and I cannot express properly how excited I am,” Yurkow said in a press release.

As the recruiting coordinator for the Quakers, Yurkow has seen to it that the program has made great strides.

Before Yurkow arrived, between 2004 and 2009, Penn only had two players be named to the All-Ivy team.

Since 2010, 11 players have received that honor after Yurkow convinced them to don the red and blue.

Two of the players brought in by Yurkow have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft – Paul Cusick by the Philadelphia Phillies and Vince Voiro twice, first by the San Diego Padres in 2011 and then the Oakland Athletics in 2012.

“John knows our program and its players, he understands what it takes to get the best players here to Penn,” Bilsky said in the same press release. “And I am excited to promote him and have him lead our program going forward.”

Before starting at Penn, Yurkow worked at Duke University from 2001 to 2005, first as a volunteer assistant, then as an assistant coach and co-recruiting coordinator in January of 2003.

Prior to his time at Duke, Yurkow served as an assistant at Rowan University for three years. John Cole, whom Yurkow succeeds, was the head coach at Rowan.

Yurkow was a four-year starter at second base for Rowan’s squad. He led his team to the NCAA Regional Championships four times.

More important than his baseball knowledge, perhaps, was the manner in which Yurkow engages with the players.

“Over the past year that I have observed our baseball program, I have watched John Yurkow and seen that he has a very good working relationship with our players and staff,” Senior Associate Athletics Director Tony Vecchione said.

Only time will tell whether those good relationships will help Yurkow lead Penn to its first Ivy League title since 2007.

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