In his 16 years as Wofford baseball’s head coach, Todd Interdonato didn’t just pile up 455 wins and eight 30-win seasons in the last nine years.
Interdonato’s time at Wofford also marked the start of his family, as his two daughters were born during his time in South Carolina.
So it was no surprise when the emotions came pouring out just moments into his introductory press conference as Boston College baseball’s newest head coach on Monday inside the Pete Frates Center.
“This is everything to us,” Interdonato said as he choked up. “We started our life in South Carolina together. Wofford College was home to us.”
But for Interdonato, the decision to leave the comfort of Wofford—the place where him and his family established its roots—came easily.
“You look at a place like BC and you talk to coaches, and you talk to friends, and they’re like, ‘Man, that’s a no brainer,’” Interdonato said. “And it is. And it is. When this opportunity came for our family, we knew we were going to say yes.”
To Interdonato, it wasn’t only the eye-opening success of the Eagles’ 2023 campaign or the opportunity to coach in the ACC that drew him to Chestnut Hill—it was the strength of BC as an institution.
“As we went through this process, where it really gave us the most comfort was [that] it just starts with the institution,” Interdonato said. “And when it starts with the institution, like Wofford or like BC, that trickles down to the players, and then that trickles down to the family environment that you see in athletic departments.”
After Mike Gambino, the Eagles’ head coach for the past 13 years, departed for Penn State on July 3, BC Director of Athletics Blake James had a specific vision for his next skipper.
“We need someone who’s genuine, someone who’s going to love the young men in our program, who’s going to help them really develop as people and not only baseball players,” James said. “We need someone who does things with integrity. We need someone who’s about excellence. And we need someone who’s about family.”
Interdonato, according to James, immediately stood out as an individual who fit this description and understood his role extended beyond wins and losses.
“I think really the most powerful thing is to be, not only be a good coach and a successful coach, but you have to be a steward and you have to be a good employee of the college,” Interdonato said. “I think if you’re able to do those two things, I think it provides sustainability.”
The opportunity to lead BC also comes with a mission far greater than just baseball. As the conversation shifted to the late former Eagles’ captain Pete Frates, BC ’07—who famously led the fight against ALS through the Ice Bucket Challenge—Interdonato’s eyes again grew misty.
“We got to be around [Frates] all the way from 2012, and then had been around him three, four times throughout the course of the rest of his life,” Interdonato said, before pausing to compose himself. “I don’t know how somebody from the outside can do that justice, but we’re going to try.”
Sustainable success is a key priority for Interdonato on the diamond, and he believes that BC is uniquely equipped to achieve such a goal.
“It comes down to three things where we believe we can have success and sustainability,” Interdonato said. “It’s the institution, the conference, and the city. And when you look at it from that perspective, those three factors—you just can’t do better than this institution, this conference, in this city.”
As a baseball coach, Interdonato’s approach centers around player development, as he said he seeks to build a coaching staff aligned with this mission.
“This is going to be a player-centric program,” Interdonato said. “Every decision we make is going to be about the development of the players.”
Interdonato will have to do so with a roster significantly different from the one the Eagles fielded in 2023. Not only did BC lose first baseman Joe Vetrano and outfielder Travis Honeyman in the MLB Draft, pitcher John West and catcher Adonys Guzman elected to enter the transfer portal following Gambino’s departure, according to Interdonato. Guzman has since announced he will transfer to Arizona, the school former BC assistant coach Kevin Vance left for on June 9.
“When [coaching changes] like this happen, it rattles you,” Interdonato said. “You know, you can be heartbroken, you can be lost, you can be all those things. So I’ve expressed to them that I have no ill will, we have no ill will, for them going in and both those guys are welcome to be back.”
What further underscored the effect of BC as an institution to Interdonato was the confidence held by the many players who chose to stay with the Eagles.
“I called Vince Cimini and … he goes ‘Todd, I speak for everybody. We’d rather die than go play for another program,'” Interdonato said in front of an audience that included returners Barry Walsh and Sam McNulty. “That simple, that matter of fact. That was immediately the moment that I knew the power that this institution has on these student-athletes.”
Despite the roster turnover, however, Interdonato said he will look to build BC’s program through recruiting rather than through the transfer portal.
“We want to do it through the four-year model of bringing those guys up through, because, like I said before, the power is in the institution,” Interdonato said. “We want those portal guys to be able to maybe bring an additive, or like I said, fill in a gap, but, you know, ideally we want to do this organically.”
With Interdonato at the helm, players like Walsh said their confidence in their program is as high as ever. Their mission of winning ballgames and proving doubters wrong remains at the forefront, Walsh said.
“Nobody expects anything from us,” Walsh said. “And that’s part of the reason why last season was so fun, because it felt like every time we won a game we were proving the rest of the country wrong. We got a group of guys that really believe. We got a lot of returners here. We’re excited to get working with Todd, and we really believe that we could do something special again this year.”