The testing course ended at home plate of the UCF baseball complex.
Joe Mercadante enters his first season with the UCF baseball program. He will serve as the Knights' hitting coach and recruiting coordinator.
Prior to working with the Black and Gold, Mercadante spent seven years at Miami working with the Hurricanes' hitters and defensively with UM's catchers, in addition to scheduling games and assisting in recruiting efforts. During that time, he helped the squad make seven-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, which included four regional championships (2005, 2006, 2008, 2010) and two College World Series appearances (2006, 2008).
In 2011, Mercadante helped guide the Hurricanes to a 38-23 overall record, its 40th overall appearance in the NCAA Regional and a No. 22 ranking in the final Baseball America Top-25 poll of the year. Under his guidance, Miami hit .275 as a team with 547 hits, including 114 doubles, 12 triples and 43 home runs, to go along with 333 runs scored and a .376 on-base percentage.
Mercadante helped hone the skills and development of former Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal, who was not only a Johnny Bench Award finalist and named the ACC Player of the Year, but was also a first-round selection in the MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds in 2010.
That same season, Mercadante's offense hit .295 and became the first in program history to hit 100+ home runs, 20 triples and steal more than 100 bases, while being one of only two teams in the country to achieve the 100+ mark in both home runs and stolen bases in 2010.
Ranked No. 1 for most of the 2008 season, Mercadante aided in the squad hitting .320 and hitting the second-most home runs (106) in school history. The 711 hits in 2008 were 10th all-time while the 2008 squad also ranked ninth in doubles (135), eighth in RBI (517), eighth in total bases (1,202) and fourth in slugging percentage (.541).
Mercadante's first Johnny Bench Award finalist at Miami was catcher Eddy Rodriguez, who hit .318 with 64 hits offensively, while catching 15 runners stealing and picking off five from behind the plate in 2006.
Mercadante graduated from P.K. Yonge High School in 1999. He was a four-year letterman for coach Bob Hawkins and was named the team MVP as a senior. Out of high school, he attended Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, Ala., and helped lead the team to a JUCO Regional title and a berth in the Junior College World Series. He then transferred to Delgado Junior College in New Orleans for his sophomore season. Mercadante arrived at Florida in 2002 and hit .471 in a reserve role for the Gators. He missed most of his senior season due to injury before beginning his coaching career.
After serving as an assistant coach at P.K. Yonge in 2004, Mercadante coached summer baseball in the Virginia Valley League with the Covington Lumberjacks.
Mercadante is a 2003 graduate of Florida, where he earned a bachelor's degree in sports management. He earned his master's degree in exercise and sports science from Florida in June of 2006.