Wildcats to Hold Series of Winter Baseball Camps in December
Keith Vorhoff, a former volunteer assistant coach at Southeastern Louisiana University, is in his seventh season as the volunteer assistant coach with the Kentucky baseball program.
As the volunteer assistant coach for the Wildcats, Vorhoff serves a myriad of roles, including assisting with the pitching staff and development of the catchers, assisting in camp coordinating and video production, organization of practice and class schedules, and assisting in the day-to-day management of the UK baseball program.
Vorhoff also assists as the UK first base coach, helping direct a high-octane UK offensive attack on the base paths.
As the catching coordinator, Vorhoff's tutelage can be seen directly in the backstops produced by the Wildcats during his tenure. In 2010, senior Marcus Nidiffer had a breakout year and continued that success into his professional debut. In 2011 and 2012, Vorhoff managed a pair of dynamic catchers who shared the position, Luke Maile and Michael Williams. The duo formed one of the best catching tandems in the NCAA, complete with lockdown defense behind the dish.
The 2012 season marked another historic campaign for Kentucky, which won a school-record 45 games, soared to a No. 1 national ranking for the first time in program history and equaled UK's best ever finishes in the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Tournaments. The combination of Maile and Williams were instrumental in UK's success, combining for 15 homers and over 87 RBI, with UK leading the league in pickoffs and allowing the fewest steals in the SEC.
The UK pitching staff was one of the tops in program history in 2012, as UK owned the second-best team ERA in program history, 3.41, just shy of the school record set in 1983. UK shattered the school pitching records for saves (22), innings (570), strikeouts (502) and opponent average (.260). He was honored at the 2012 American Baseball Coaches Association convention in Chicago, presenting on "The Catching Foundation: Receiving and Blocking". He is the third consecutive member of the UK coaching staff to present at the ABCA convention, as head coach Gary Henderson presented in 2010 in Philadelphia and assistant Brian Green presented in 2011 in Nashville.
In 2013, Vorhoff's impact could be seen in the defensive progress of Micheal Thomas behind the plate, as Thomas worked his way into the starting lineup and committed just one error from his backstop post, coming on a catcher's interference.
Vorhoff has worked closely with some of the top sluggers in UK baseball history, including All-Americans Sawyer Carroll and Collin Cowgill, with Cowgill helping the Arizona Diamondbacks win the 2011 National League Western Division and the Oakland Athletics win the 2012 American League Western Division crown.
In 2008, Vorhoff worked closely with a UK pitching staff that led the SEC in ERA, helping mentor dynamic UK pitchers Andrew Albers, Greg Dombrowski, Chris Rusin and James Paxton. Albers, Paxton, Rusin and 2011 first-team MLB Draft pick Alex Meyer all improved their draft stock into the top 10 rounds after working with Vorhoff, with Paxton also going in the first round in 2009.
Vorhoff spent the 2007 season working with the Southeastern Louisiana University baseball program, working mainly with the pitching staff. Vorhoff helped improve the staff ERA from 5.34 in 2006 to 4.07 in 2007, good enough to pace the conference. As the pitching coach, Vorhoff emphasized keeping the ball down in the zone in an effort to force ground-ball outs, translating into the Lions leading the NCAA in double plays. The Baton Rouge, La., native had several roles for Southeastern Louisiana, including managing the scouting reports for future opponents, handling all the video needs for the program, and assisting with organization and planning of camps.
Among the individual accomplishments of his pitching staff in 2007 was third-round MLB pick Chris Province, a Boston Red Sox draftee who had never been drafted before undergoing Vorhoff's tutelage.
Vorhoff has served as a summer league coach for two excellent clubs, including serving as the head coach for the Chillicothe Mudcats during the summer of 2007. Vorhoff also served as the assistant coach for the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska Summer Collegiate Baseball League, coaching 19 players selected in the MLB Draft. During the 2004 season the Bucs led the ABL in team batting average, team slugging percentage, and runs scored. Also during the 2004 season, the Bucs represented the ABL in the National Baseball Congress World Series, finishing with a 32-15 overall record.
Aside from being very active in summer collegiate leagues, Vorhoff spent two seasons on the staff at Northeast Texas CC. Vorhoff handled Northeast's base-running philosophies, resulting in a school record for stolen bases, swiping 145 bases in 176 attempts. Vorhoff also worked with the pitchers, outfielders, and hitters while at Northeast.
Before coaching at the collegiate level, Vorhoff completed his college playing days at Missouri Valley College. During his senior season, Vorhoff helped the Vikings win the coveted Heart of America Championship. For his contributions to the Viking's success both on and off the field, Vorhoff was named to the NAIA Academic All-American Team. As MVC's best closer, Vorhoff had a 4-1 record in his senior season.
Before transferring to Missouri Valley, Vorhoff played one season for Arkansas State University, in Jonesboro, Ark. Vorhoff went to Arkansas State after completing two years at Pratt Community College, in Pratt, Kan. During his freshman and sophomore seasons at Pratt, Vorhoff was an integral part of the Beaver pitching staff, helping set the school record for wins during the 1999 season. In his second year at Pratt, Vorhoff was named to the Jayhawk League All-Star team, as well as a second-team All-Region selection.
Vorhoff is a graduate of Redemptorist High School, and is a native of Baton Rouge, La, where his parents Carol and Conrad still reside. Keith received his B.S. in exercise science, with concentrations in sports management and health & fitness, from Missouri Valley College in 2004. Upon graduation, Vorhoff worked two seasons with his alma matter as a student assistant coach, handling pitchers, outfielders, and assisting in player development.
Vorhoff, 34, is married to the former Brooke Szabo and the couple resides in Lexington, Ky.