Jim McKinnon
Jim McKinnon
Title: Head Coach
Phone: 860.231.5473
Email: jimckinnon@usj.edu

Jim McKinnon begins his 12th season with the Blue Jays in 2017. Over the past 11 years, McKinnon has compiled a record of 224 wins and 184 losses while leading the team to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) tournament in the past seven consecutive years and nine times in all. He has had 26 players selected all-conference, including five each in 2013 and 2014 and four in 2016.

Last season, 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 in the past 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 a 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, 18-6 in the GNAC and set 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 GNAC Rookie of the Year. 

In 2011, Saint Joseph also finished third in the GNAC Tournament and in 2012 the Blue Jays made another deep run, going 3-2 and finishing fourth. Of the nine 20-win seasons in USJ history, seven have come under McKinnon, including five years in a row from 2010-14.

McKinnon emphasizes defensive fundamentals and intelligent play as keys to the Blue Jays improving record. "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 Conn. 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, Connecticut, McKinnon currently resides in Newington with his wife Joanne. The couple has four children; twins Jimmy IV and Christine, Jennifer and Matthew.

Jim Valenti
Jim Valenti
Title: Assistant Coach

Coach Valenti is in his 10th season as an assistant coach to Coach McKinnon.

He has had a 20-year career as a player, having competed in USSSA, NSA and ASA events, including two Worlds. 

A native of New Britain, he now resides in Ellington.

Hope Kelley
Hope Kelley
Title: Assistant Coach

Coach Kelley begins her fifth season as an assistant coach on the USJ softball staff.

Kelley was a four-year varsity player under McKinnon from 2006-2009 and a captain of the USJ softball team her senior year. She was primarily an outfielder, but also played shortstop and hit a career-best .242 during her senior campaign.

Kelley graduated from the University of Saint Joseph in 2009 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and then went on to get a Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from USJ in 2012. In addition to serving the Blue Jays softball team, she works as a Program Coordinator at Community Mental Health Affiliates and has recently opened her own practice performing Mental Health Counseling in West Hartford.

Originally a native of Gloucester, Mass., she now resides in Farmington.