A veteran when it comes to success at the highest level of college baseball, associate head coach Cliff Godwin is in charge of the UCF offense as well as the catchers. A native of Snow Hill, N.C., he also serves as the recruiting coordinator for the Knights' program after spending two years at LSU. And already Godwin has brought in two recruiting classes ranked in the top 20.
Professional Players Coached by Godwin
Mike Baxter - Fourth Round - Vanderbilt
Warner Jones - 17th Round - Vanderbilt
Tony Mansolino - 26th Round - Vanderbilt
Antoan Richardson - 35th Round - Vanderbilt
Tim Preston - Free Agent - UNC Wilmington
Chris Hatcher - Fifth Round - UNC Wilmington
Craig Cooper - Seventh Round - Notre Dame
John Raynor - Ninth Round - UNC Wilmington
Brian Hernandez - 19th Round - Vanderbilt
Greg Lopez - 33rd Round - Notre Dame
Matt Poulk - 41st Round - UNC Wilmington
Jonathan Batts - 49th Round - UNC Wilmington
Mike Marbry - Free Agent - UNC Wilmington
Dominic De La Osa - 10th Round - Vanderbilt
Kenny Smith - 20th Round - UNC Wilmington
Jonathan White - 24th Round - Vanderbilt
Zac Booker - Free Agent - UNC Wilmington
Matt Clark - 12th Round - LSU
Mike Hollander - 20th Round - LSU
Brett Lilley - 29th Round - Notre Dame
Mark Carver - 33rd Round - UNC Wilmington
Alex Feinberg - 43rd Round - Vanderbilt
Jared Mitchell - First Round (23rd Pick)- LSU
DJ LeMahieu - Second Round (79th Pick) - LSU
Ryan Schimpf - Fifth Round - LSU
Sean Ochinko - 11th Round - LSU
Jeremy Barnes - 11th Round - Notre Dame
Chadd Hartman - 43rd Round - UCF
Micah Gibbs - Third Round - LSU
Leon Landry - Third Round - LSU
Blake Dean - Eighth Round - LSU
Shane Brown - 23rd Round - UCF
Chris Duffy - 26th Round - UCF
Johnny Dishon - 42nd Round - LSU
Chad Jones - 50th Round - LSU
Godwin wasted little time making his mark with the Knights when he joined the program in the summer of 2008. Working with head coach Terry Rooney and assistant coach Jeff Palumbo, the staff's first UCF recruiting class was ranked as the fourth-best in the country by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, while Baseball America gave the Black and Gold the No. 10 spot in its top 25. Those rankings for the 2010 class were the highest ever recorded by the UCF baseball program.
One year later, the 2011 class was No. 20 in the country by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Those stellar marks were justified in 2011, as the Knights returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004. They also finished with a 39-23 record, which was their best dating back to the 2005 campaign, and had a 12-12 record in C-USA. UCF's fourth-place showing in the league standings was its highest since joining the league in 2006.
In a year where the entire country saw their power numbers drop due to new NCAA-regulated bats, Godwin and UCF continued to wreak havoc on opposing pitchers. The Black and Gold led C-USA in homers, slugging, hits, runs, RBI and doubles, and were led by a dynamic duo in the heart of the order in 2011.
First baseman and All-C-USA First Team member Jonathan Griffin tied for second in UCF single-season history with 19 home runs and led all C-USA players with a .661 slugging percentage. Meanwhile, designated hitter D.J. Hicks was a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, which is handed out to the nation's top player, and also earned NCBWA All-American honors. Hicks paced C-USA in RBI and finished in the top five in average, homers and slugging as well.
Godwin also worked with catcher Beau Taylor who earned a spot on the Johnny Bench Award Watch List. The backstop once again had a very productive year in which he hit .325, had a .998 fielding percentage and threw out 20 would-be basestealers.
With his first recruiting class suiting up in Black and Gold for '10, Godwin directed a UCF offense that put up dizzying numbers, as he would go on to earn C-USA Assistant Coach of the Year honors from SEBaseball.com. The Knights' .343 team batting average not only set a school record, but was the best by a C-USA program in league history. They smashed the program's single-season home run mark by sending 78 over the wall, and also broke the UCF record with a .538 slugging percentage.
UCF finished with a 33-22 record, and ranked among the nation's best offensive teams at the conclusion of the regular season. It placed 11th in the nation in batting average, 18th in doubles per game (2.56), 19th in slugging and 27th in home runs per game (1.42).
If that was not impressive enough, Godwin helped completely turn around Chris Duffy's career. With a .283 three-year batting average and 22 homers, Duffy broke through as a senior in 2010 under Godwin. The outfielder shattered the UCF and C-USA records with a .447 average and an .850 slugging percentage en route to receiving national attention all year long. His 21 homers and 81 RBI set the UCF single-season records as well, as he ranked in the regular-season top-10 in all of Division I in average, homers, RBI, slugging, total bases and OBP.
Duffy, a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, would join senior Shane Brown as members of the Louisville Slugger All-American Teams and the All-C-USA First Team, with the duo serving as the first two teammates in C-USA history to hit at least .400. Brown's .428 mark was the fourth-highest in the league record books while he entered UCF's top-10 in almost every statistical category.
As the seniors pummeled opposing pitching, Godwin also mentored five starting freshmen in the lineup, including C-USA Freshman of the Year Chris Taladay who hit .352 with 19 doubles and eight homers. Along with Darnell Sweeney (.358) and Ryan Breen (.348), the trio finished the regular season with the three highest batting averages of all freshmen in the entire league. Not to be outdone, Ronnie Richardson paced all C-USA freshmen with a .448 OBP and Austin Johnston was one of the nation's best with 12 sacrifice bunts.
Breen and Taladay went on to be selected as Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans in 2010, as Breen joined Taylor as two UCF catchers who earned that status in back-to-back-seasons.
Overall, the entire Knights offense combined to smash the UCF home run record for the second-straight year with Godwin at the helm. The 2009 squad set the mark with 68 long balls before the 2010 campaign witnessed UCF crush 78 homers. During the 2010 season, Duffy (21), Griffin (13) and Brown (10) each hit at least 10 dingers, marking just the third time in UCF history it had three Knights bang out 10 home runs or more.
In year No. 1 with Godwin at the helm of the aluminum, a total of four student-athletes earned postseason accolades by Conference USA, with Brown and Brandon Romans on the second team, while Taylor and Hicks were voted onto the all-freshman team.
During the year, Brown was named a national hitter of the week by three different organizations by reaching base in 18-straight plate appearances from April 24-28.
And Taylor's freshman season evolved into one of the best by a UCF catcher, as he became the first backstop in school history to earn Freshman All-American honors. He threw out a C-USA best 26 runners and finished with a .335 average and a .981 fielding percentage.
Prior to coming to UCF, Godwin helped the LSU offense hit .306 in 2008 with 100 homers and 95 stolen bases. The squad recorded at least 10 runs in a game 20 times and posted a .509 slugging percentage. Towards the end of the season and including the NCAA Tournament, LSU posted a 23-game winning streak en route to a trip to Omaha and the College World Series.
The Tigers were paced by Baseball America First Team All-American Blake Dean, who batted .353 and had 73 RBI. The sophomore was the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional Most Outstanding Player and the SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Meanwhile, first baseman Matt Clark, who led the nation with 28 dingers, went in the 12th round of the 2008 MLB Draft.
Familiar with sending student-athletes off to the professional ranks throughout his coaching career, Godwin has witnessed 35 of his players be selected in the MLB Draft since 2005, including Brown and Duffy in the 2010 Draft.
Godwin was also responsible for developing LSU catcher Micah Gibbs into a 2008 Freshman All-American for the Tigers. Gibbs eventually served as the starting catcher for the United States National Team that went undefeated and took gold at the 2008 World Championships, and he later was drafted in the third round of the 2010 MLB Draft. Godwin also mentored a pair of LSU hitters who were selected in the top two rounds of the 2009 draft, as Jared Mitchell was taken in the first round and DJ LeMahieu heard his name called in the second round.
Godwin and Rooney built the top ranked recruiting class in the nation in 2007 for LSU, according to Collegiate Baseball magazine. That class featured nine signees selected in that season's MLB Draft.
The duo also spent one season together at Notre Dame before venturing to LSU. During that 2006 campaign, the Fighting Irish had a .313 team average en route to claiming the Big East Tournament title and a spot in the NCAA Lexington Regional. First baseman and consensus All-American Craig Cooper sparked ND, earning Big East Player of the Year accolades and was drafted in the seventh round after not being selected out of high school. In the classroom, Notre Dame had a 3.28 team grade-point average for the 2006 spring semester.
Before heading to South Bend, Godwin served as Vanderbilt's director of baseball operations in 2004-05 and was a volunteer assistant coach at UNC Wilmington in 2003-04. The 2004 Seahawks put the program on the map by winning their first Colonial Athletic Association championship and advancing to the NCAA Regional championship game.
Godwin received his first taste of coaching with one year as an assistant at Kinston (N.C.) High School in 2003, a year after he played professionally for two seasons with the Frontier League's Gateway Grizzlies.
A magna cum laude graduate of East Carolina in December 2000, Godwin earned a bachelor of science degree in management information systems at ECU. He later received the Pat Draughon Postgraduate Scholarship, as well as his master's in business administration from East Carolina in 2002.
On the diamond, Godwin was instrumental as the Pirates' catcher from 1997-01. At ECU, the two-time Academic All-American was a three-year captain who made 126 starts during his final three campaigns while playing for legendary coach Keith LeClair. As a senior, Godwin hit .322 with 15 homers and 45 RBI to earn ABCA All-East Region and First Team All-CAA accolades.
East Carolina brought home two CAA tournament titles while Godwin was with the team. The Pirates reached the NCAA Tournament as the top regional seed from 1999-01, including a trip to the Super Regionals in 2001.
Prior to college, Godwin attended Greene Central High School where he was a standout in football, basketball and baseball. Godwin was voted the conference's player of the year in football along with earning all-conference honors in baseball and basketball.