Chris Francis begins his sixth year at the helm of the Virginia Wesleyan baseball program in 2020.
The 2019 season proved to be another successful one for the Marlin program. The squad finished with a 22-17 record, notching the team's third-straight 20-win season. Of those 22 wins, nealry a third came against Nationally-ranked opponents including a win over No. 5 Randolph-Macon.
In 2018 the Marlins went 31-16, finishing with a program record three wins in the NCAA Division III Championship. It was the first time since 2004 that the Marlins had eclipsed a 30 win season. Jacob Pilarski was the program’s first All-American (D3baseball.com Honorable Mention) since 2010 as he set the program record for victories. He joined teammates Brandon Kussmaul and Corey King All-South Region as well. In addition, six players received All-ODAC honors.
In his first year as head coach, he helped guide the Marlins to the 2015 ODAC tournament, the first trip to the postseason for the squad since the 2010 season. The second place regular-season finish was also the best since 2010 while the ODAC tournament runner-up finish was a first since 2009.
The 2015 team went 14-6 in ODAC play, a six game improvement over the previous season. The 14 wins were the most conference victories by a Marlin baseball team since the 2004 team won 15 conference games in route to an NCAA tournament berth. He also coached eight members of the team to All-ODAC honors, the most by a Marlin squad since the 1997 season.
The 2017 season saw the Marlins go 21-20, the first time the program has won at least 20 games in a season since the 2010 campaign. He led pitcher Patrick Monteverde to ODAC Rookie of the Year honors, the first time a Marlin has earned the award since the 2008 season.
The head coaching stint is the second time Francis has been at Virginia Wesleyan, guiding the pitching staff from 2003-07. The 2003 pitching staff ranked second nationally with a 2.19 ERA, setting a program record for wins behind a 34-9 record. He was part of a winning campaign each season, highlighted by 30+ win seasons in 2003 and 2004. The Marlins won three ODAC titles, advancing to the NCAA tournament three times.
One of the top pitching instructors, Francis has coached more than 35 players who have signed into professional baseball.
Prior to his return to Virginia Wesleyan, he was the head coach at Division II College of St. Rose in Albany, New York. He has also coached at Division II Mansfield University, where he guided the Mountaineers to a pair of 30+ win seasons and an NCAA tournament appearance. Francis, in total, has led four different baseball programs to NCAA berths.
Francis also has coaching experience at the University of Rochester and Ithaca College. He helped Rochester to a pair of ECAC titles and an NCAA berth in 1999, while also helping Ithaca to three-straight Empire 8 Conference crowns and three NCAA tournament appearances.
He played at Ithaca where he was part of three teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament, with the 1994 squad advancing all the way to the NCAA Division III College World Series. He was an all-region selection in his time on campus and was recipient of the Carlton “Carp” Wood Award for Attitude. He graduated from Ithaca in 1997.
Francis and his wife Meghan have a son, Christian, and a daughter, Lillian.