Tracy Woodson was named the 16th head baseball coach in the program’s history, and just the fifth since 1946, on August 4, 2006. Woodson arrived at Valpo with eight years of professional coaching experience as well as 13 seasons of professional playing experience.
Woodson has posted a 155-182 record for both his collegiate career as well as at Valpo.
The 2012 campaign saw Woodson guide Valparaiso to the Horizon League regular season and tournament championships, and a berth in the NCAA Division I tournament for the first time since 1968. The Crusaders matched a school record with 35 victories, and finished the year winning 27 of their final 34 contests. He was named the Horizon League’s Coach of the Year for his efforts on the field.
In 2011, Woodson led the Crusaders to the championship game of the Horizon League Tournament after the Brown and Gold posted a fourth place finish during the regular season.
The 2009 campaign saw Woodson lead his squad to a winning record for the first time since Valpo finished over .500 in 1999. The Crusaders went 28-24 overall and 12-11 in the Horizon League, its first winning league finish since 2001 in the Mid-Continent Conference as well. In 2008, Woodson guided the Crusaders to a third place finish at the Horizon League Tournament in Valparaiso’s first season as a member of the league.
Under his guidance, the Brown and Gold has recorded seven First Team All-Horizon League selections as well as 10 Second Team picks in Valpo’s first five years in the conference. In addition, Woodson has had 11 All-Newcomer Team picks and 15 Crusaders named to the Horizon League’s All-Tournament Team, including Mark Johnson, who was the 2012 tournament Most Valuable Player. In 2010, Bryce Shafer was named the Horizon League Pitcher of the Year while Kevin Wild garnered the same honors in 2012. Kyle Wormington was named the league’s co-Newcomer of the Year in the 2012 championship season as well.
In his first season at the helm of the Brown and Gold, Woodson led the Crusaders to a 22-34 record, and a third place finish in the Mid-Continent Conference. The finish marked Valpo’s highest league standing since the team placed third during the 2001 campaign.
Four of Woodson’s players earned Second Team All Mid-Continent Conference accolades during his first season, and the Crusaders advanced to the Mid-Con Tournament for the first time since 2003. His squad defeated Big Ten foe Northwestern on the road as well as registering a victory against Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla. for the first time in school history.
Since his arrival at Valpo, four Crusaders have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft. Kyle Gaedele became Valpo’s highest draft pick ever after being chosen in the sixth round, number 203 overall, by the San Diego Padres in 2011. Designated hitter/closer Dallas Cawiezell was selected in the summer of 2007 and signed with the Cleveland Indians. In 2010, pitcher Bryce Shafer was drafted by the Chicago Cubs while Bo McClendon was a pick of the Detroit Tigers, marking the first time since 1969 the Crusaders have had two players selected in the same draft. In addition, Zach Rodeghero, Matt Lenski, and Jon Gulbransen have played minor league baseball since their graduation from Valpo.
Woodson’s players also have been rewarded for their efforts in the classroom, as 19 Crusaders earned Academic All-Conference honors in his first year. In addition, 51 players were named to the Horizon League’s Academic Honor Roll for either the fall or spring semester since joining the league. In addition, 15 Valparaiso players have been voted to the Horizon League’s All-Academic Team.
Woodson was the manager of the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League in 2004, the AAA affiliate of the Florida Marlins. The year prior, he led the Carolina Mudcats, the AA affiliate of the Marlins, to the Southern League championship, and was named the manager of the Southern League All-Stars. In addition, he was named Baseball America’s Future’s Game Coach for top minor league managers.
He began his professional coaching career in 1997 as the hitting coach for the Mudcats, and, beginning in 1998, served as a manager of minor league clubs in Rookie League, A, and AA until his final season in 2004.
Woodson’s professional playing career was highlighted by five seasons in the major leagues. He was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1987-1989, playing the corner infield for the World Champion 1988 squad. Woodson also played for the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1992 and 1993.
Woodson played in the minor leagues through 1996, when he was named the New York Yankees AAA Most Valuable Player with Columbus. He was a member of three AAA championship teams and a AAA All-Star in 1988. He also played in the AA All-Star game in 1986.
Woodson attended North Carolina State University, where he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1984, as well as being named a Second Team All-American. He was named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary Team.
He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in sports management from Valparaiso University in May, 2010.
Tracy and his wife, Lisa, have two children, Erin born in 2004 and T.J. born in 2006. Tracy also has a son Michael, born in 1989.