A native of Omaha, Tom Lipari grew up wanting to follow in his father Ted’s footsteps, who played for the Bluejays from 1973-76. That dream became a reality in the fall of 2012 when Lipari became Creighton’s new pitching coach.
Despite entering 2013 with just three returning pitchers, Lipari helped guide the Bluejays to a 30-win season. Two players that specifically improved under Lipari’s tutaledge were Tommy Strunc and Mark Lukowski. A redshirt freshman in 2013, Strunc quickly grew into the Bluejay ace and went on to earn Freshman All-American honors. Lukowski, meanwhile, went from four appearances (3.2 innings) in 2012 to one of Creighton’s first options out of the bullpen with a team-leading 2.22 ERA in 48.2 innings and a 4-2 record.
Lipari came to Creighton following two years at Pittsburgh, where he brought immediate success to the Panthers’ pitching staff. With the Panthers, Lipari guided two pitchers to the MLB Entry Draft in his first season, also leading an All-BIG EAST selection (Matt Iannazzo) in his first year on the bench. In 2012 Lipari guided Iannazzo to his third All-BIG EAST honor, also being selected into the Chicago Cubs organization. In his final season at Pittsburgh, Lipari led the Panthers pitching staff to the fewest walks (159) in the BIG EAST and ranked among the elite teams in innings pitched and strikeouts.
Before joining the Panthers, he spent two years at Youngstown State (2009-10), serving as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator in addition to heading the squad’s strength and conditioning regimens.
Lipari was a volunteer assistant at Michigan State from 2007-08, where his primary duties were handling the day-to-day development of the MSU pitching staff. He also served as the director of David Grewe’s Top 9 Baseball Camps, which include the Fall Prospect Camp, the Winter Pro-Scout Development Camp and all summer camps. Prior to arriving in East Lansing, Lipari served as the pitching coach for the St. Cloud Riverbats, the 2007 Northwoods Collegiate Summer League Champions. He got his start in coaching as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa from 2005-07.
After graduating from Benson High School in 1997, Lipari played two seasons at Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa, highlighted by a third-place finish at the Junior College World Series his freshman season. After his first season with the Falcons, Lipari was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 14th round of the June amateur draft.
Opting not to sign with the Cubs, Lipari attended the University of New Orleans (UNO) under head coach Randy Bush. In his two years with the Privateers, he became the only pitcher in UNO history to throw a nine inning no-hitter when he accomplished the feat against 19th-ranked Southern Mississippi. He also became the fourth pitcher in New Orleans history to record over 100 strikeouts in a season. He continued his playing career moving on to the San Diego Padres organization, spending time with three different farm teams. He was traded into the Houston Astros organization in 2004, playing with the Salem Avalanche before concluding his playing career with a two-year stint with the Sioux City Explorers in 2005-06.
Lipari and his wife, the former Rebecca Blackman, are both originally from Omaha, Neb.
Servais on Lipari:
“Tom might have had the most difficult job of anybody last year. He was new to the program and eight of his top 11 pitchers were freshmen. Tom is very patient, I think that helped the players adapt to his style and personality well throughout the year. His effect is obvious as you can see a lot of improvement on the mound last season and I believe that will only continue this season.”