After a stellar playing career at UCF, Brandon Romans joined the staff as the volunteer assistant coach in the spring of 2010. A native of Cocoa, Fla., Romans played three seasons with the Black and Gold, hitting .314 for his career with 17 home runs and 77 RBI.
In his third year on the coaching staff, Romans worked once again with the outfielders and saw both Ronnie Richardson and Alex Friedrich have standout seasons. Each was named to the All-C-USA Second Team with Richardson leading the league in stolen bases while shattering the school record with 35 hit-by-pitches.
Friedrich's phenomenal senior season came on the heels of three campaigns as a defensive replacement for the Knights. Getting a chance to play full time, he finished second on the team with a .319 batting average while smashing 21 doubles to lead C-USA and also notching four homers, three triples, 39 RBI and 16 stolen bases.
Both Richardson, who was drafted in the 16th round by the San Diego Padres, and Friedrich had outstanding seasons in the field under Romans' guidance. The duo each recorded eight outfield assists which led to countless runners being tagged out at home to keep runs off the board.
Romans' efforts with the offense helped the 2011 Knights rank first in C-USA in runs, hits, homers, slugging, RBI and doubles. They went on to post their most successful season since 2005 by finishing with a 39-23 record. But most importantly, UCF returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004 as it earned a No. 2 seed for the Tallahassee Regional.
A pair of sluggers earned several accolades during the year as well. Jonathan Griffin punishing opposing pitchers with 19 homers to be voted onto the All-C-USA First Team, while D.J. Hicks led C-USA with 66 RBI and was named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, which is handed out to the nation's top player.
In year one with Romans assisting the outfield and the catchers, the Knights' offense ranked as one of the best in the country in 2010. Outfielders Chris Duffy (.447) and Shane Brown (.428) would become the first duo in C-USA history to hit .400 in the same season as they went on to earn spots on the All-C-USA First Team.
And freshman center fielder Ronnie Richardson shined as well, leading all C-USA freshmen with a .448 on-base percentage.
Behind the plate, catchers Beau Taylor, Chris Taladay and Ryan Breen would each start at least 39 games for the Knights. Taylor boasted a .354 average and a .986 fielding percentage, Taladay served as the every day third baseman en route to being voted as the C-USA Freshman of the Year, and Breen hit .348 while swiping 11 bases as the primary designated hitter.
The following is a year-by-year breakdown of Romans' playing career.
2009 (Senior): All-C-USA Second Team selection...Named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List, but primarily played in the outfield...Tied for sixth in UCF single-season history with 14 homers...Went .333 at the plate, leading the team in homers, RBI (49), total bases (116), slugging (.595) and walks (25)...Drew 25 walks while striking out just 15 times...Also had 39 runs and nine doubles...Racked up 18 two-out RBI, 21 multi-hit and 15 multi-RBI games...Jacked a two-run homer in a 2-for-4 affair vs. VCU (Feb. 20), finishing with three RBI...After missing three games with an injury, returned at LSU (Feb. 28) and connected for a solo homer in a two-hit affair...Went on an eight-game hitting streak (March 6-15)...Connected for a two-run homer in a two-hit, three-RBI game vs. Monmouth (March 6)...Went 4-for-9 with seven RBI, four runs, two doubles and two homers vs. Hartford and Northern Iowa (March 14-15)...Crushed a solo homer vs. Florida (March 18)...Homered in a two-hit afternoon at East Carolina (March 21)...Drove in a pair on a home run to left at ECU (March 22)...Sent a solo homer over the left-center wall at UNF (April 7)...Homered in a two-RBI, two-run game at Memphis (April 4)...Went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and two runs vs. Stetson (April 21)...Drove in four including three on a home run at UAB (April 24)...Collected two hits, two runs and a RBI at UAB (April 25)...Hammered a three-run homer in the eighth that gave UCF some breathing room in a win over USF (April 28)...Entered the UCF single-season top-10 with his 13th homer vs. Marshall (May 2)...Homered in a two-hit, two-run game vs. Marshall (May 3)...Posted two hits and two RBI vs. Stetson (May 6) and vs. Tulane (May 21).
2008 (Junior): Completed junior campaign with a .329 average in 36 games, including 16 starts overall and 14 behind the plate...Scored 10 runs and drove in 13 on 26 hits, six doubles, two homers and a sac fly...Had a .989 fielding percentage...Recorded a team-hit four hits as a pinch-hitter...Drove in a pair of runs vs. FAMU (Feb. 22)...Started at catcher vs. Pitt (March 11) and had a double while throwing out a runner on the bases...Had a base hit and a walk vs. Wagner (March 17)...Registered first multi-homer game, sending two over the wall while going 3-for-4 with three runs against Wagner (March 19)...Doubled with an RBI against UNF (March 25)...Notched a hit and a RBI against ECU (March 29)...Walked and scored a run vs. USF (April 1)...Delivered a two-hit performance with a run and stolen base vs. FGCU (April 2)...Banged out a pair of hits while driving in a run and touching home once as well vs. Stetson (April 9)...Doubled with a sac fly and a run scored vs. Memphis (April 12)...Recorded two hits and stole a base at UNF (April 15)...Singled and scored a run as a pinch-hitter at Marshall (April 18)...Earned an RBI and threw out a runner on the bases vs. Rice (April 25)...Went 2-for-3 with a double and a sac bunt vs. Rice (April 26)...Banged out three hits, including a double, with an RBI at USF (April 29)...Doubled in a run as a pinch-hitter vs. UAB (May 9)...Drove in a run on a RBI single as a pinch-hitter vs. Clemson (May 17).
2007 (Sophomore): Finished season with a .274 batting average, appearing in 42 games...Made 35 starts, 29 at catcher and six as the DH...Compiled 21 runs scored, 15 RBI, three doubles, a triple and a homer...Hit by a pitch 10 times, second-most behind only Kiko Vazquez...Had a .977 fielding percentage (191-24-5)...Went 1-for-2 with a run scored in the C-USA Championship vs. Memphis (May 25)...Cranked out three hits and scored a run at ECU (May 13)...Was 2-for-3 with a three-run triple at Stetson (May 8)...Knocked out two hits at Memphis (May 5)...Earned a single in a 1-for-1 affair vs. Stetson (May 2)...Singled and drove in a run at USF (April 17)...Had a base hit and scored the game-winning run vs. Southern Miss (April 6)...Notched a hit, RBI and a run scored at UAB (March 30)...Doubled and added a RBI and run scored vs. Rutgers (March 16)...Posted a 1-for-3 affair with two RBI and two runs scored against Army (March 13)...Tied a UCF record by posting 18 putouts thanks to the pitching staff striking out 18 batters against Northeastern (March 7)...Went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and two walks vs. Michigan State (March 6)...Crushed a solo home run while going 3-for-5 with two runs scored vs. Monmouth (March 4)...Was 2-for-5 with a double, three runs scored and a RBI against Monmouth (March 3)...Doubled and scored two runs vs. Maryland (Feb. 17)...Against TCU (Feb. 9), was 2-for-3 with an RBI...Went 1-for-3 with two RBI, a walk and a HBP against FIU (Feb. 4)...Posted a 2-for-4 performance with a run scored in the opener with FIU (Feb. 3).
Prior to UCF: Competed for Birmingham-Southern in 2005, playing in 32 games...Started in 18 contests at catcher and at DH...Posted a .216 batting average and drove in 18 runs...Had a hitting streak of five games, while belting a grand slam vs. Butler (March 14)...In high school, played for head coach Chuck Goldfarb at Cocoa Beach in hitting as a sophomore and a junior and was named the team's MVP both seasons...As a junior, hit .402 with two homers, seven doubles and 26 RBI...Named first team All-Space Coast and first team All-Cape Coast.