Jim McKinnon begins his 15th season with the Blue Jays in 2020, fresh off his first Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship in 2019, and the second in program history. Over the past 14 years, McKinnon has compiled a record of 294 wins and 236 losses, while leading the team to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) tournament 10 consecutive years and 12 times in all. He has had 33 players selected all-conference, including five each in 2013 and 2014, four in 2016, and three in 2018.
2019 was nothing short of magical for McKinnon. The Blue Jays had a solid season overall, finishing 23-17, earning the two seed in the GNAC South. Junior pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.), who was already having a dominant season, turned it on in the tournament, going a perfect 4-0 in four starts, including a 3-0 shutout in the finale to lead the Blue Jays to the title. Sharon earned the tournament's most valuable player award, and was voted All-GNAC First Team at second base. Her tournament numbers told the story:
In the Circle: 28 IP, 1.25 ERA (22 H [5 XBH], 6 R, 5 ER, 13 K, BB) **4 CG, 2 S/O
At the Plate: .417 AVG (HR, 2 2B, 4 RBI)
In 2016, McKinnon guided the Blue Jays to their best record since 2013, finishing with an overall mark of 27-12, including 16-6 in GNAC play. The 16-6 record in conference action slotted them runner-up in the regular season GNAC standings, a program-best finish. They went on to advance to the GNAC semifinal round of the conference tournament for the fifth time over the previous six seasons.
2016 also saw McKinnon coach his first GNAC Pitcher and Player of the Year in senior Patti Sciglimpaglia. Offensively, Sciglimpaglia hit .463 and ranked second among GNAC leaders in both RBI (49) and slugging (.799). On the mound, the right-hander was second in the league in ERA (1.25), second in wins (18), third in strikeouts (177) and first in complete games (22).
In 2015, McKinnon guided the Blue Jays to a 15-18 overall record and 11-11 mark in the conference to qualify for their sixth straight appearance in the GNAC tournament. USJ had three players named all-conference headlined by Patti Sciglimpaglia who was tabbed to the All-GNAC First Team as an outfielder and All-GNAC Third Team as a pitcher.
The 2014 season saw the selection of Ashley Gall and Patti Sciglimpaglia as All-Region selections and All-American nominees, a first for the program, in addition to being named First Team All-GNAC. USJ finished 22-12 overall and 17-5 in the GNAC, good for fourth in the regular-season standings.
McKinnon led USJ to one of its best seasons ever in 2013, as the Blue Jays finished 32-12 and 18-6 in the GNAC, setting a school record for wins in a season. Saint Joseph was one of the final three teams left in the GNAC Tournament and Patti Sciglimpaglia was honored as the 2013 GNAC Rookie of the Year.
McKinnon emphasizes defensive fundamentals and intelligent play as keys to the Blue Jays' success. "Good defense, combined with smart play in the field and on the bases will always keep us in games and give us a chance to win."
Prior to joining the Blue Jays staff, McKinnon was the head softball coach at Northwest Catholic High School for four seasons, and an assistant coach at Rocky Hill High School for two. He has also coached with the Connecticut Eliminators travel softball program, and was a boys and girls basketball and football coach at Rocky Hill.
McKinnon earned his Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven, where he competed on the Chargers lacrosse team and was a captain his senior season. He recently retired after 38 years of service to the State of Connecticut, including 10 as an Agency Police Sergeant, and 15 as Director of Residential and Rehabilitation Services for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Rocky Hill.
A native of Wallingford, Conn., McKinnon currently resides in Newington with his wife Joanne. The couple has four children; twins Jimmy IV and Christine, Jennifer and Matthew.