The Wake Forest baseball team is bringing in 11 freshmen as part of the 2017 signing class.
Head coach Tom Walter announces the newest signing class
Class features seven guys who can pitch and three left-handed hitters
Six current Deacons and one feature Deac selected in draft
In his time as a coach, 53 of his student-athletes have gone on to play professionally, including five big leaguers.
Cilento mentored current San Francisco Giant Mac Williamson, who was recruited to Wake Forest as a pitcher. After transitioning to outfield, Williamson went on to earn All-ACC honors and was drafted in the third round before working his way to the MLB.
He also oversaw the development of National Player of the Year Will Craig, the first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016. After not making an all-conference team his freshman year, Craig's improvement earned him ACC Player of the Year honors in 2015 and made him a unanimous first team All-American in 2016. Stuart Fairchild and Gavin Sheets were both All-Americans and top-50 overall selections in the 2017 MLB Draft.
Wake Forest has had 13 hitters earn all-ACC honors the last three seasons, including All-Americans Craig, Fairchild, Sheets, Nate Mondou and Ben Breazeale.
The Demon Deacons have developed into one of the nation's top offenses under Cilento's watch. Wake Forest has ranked in the top 50 nationally in home runs each of the past three seasons, also ranking among the nation's leaders in batting average, doubles, walks, slugging and OBP. In 2017, Wake Forest became the first Division I school in the nation to surpass 100 home runs in the BBCOR era, leading the nation with 106 blasts and 1.68 longballs per game.
The 2017 Demon Deacons hosted and swept the Winston-Salem Regional and finished a game away from the College World Series at the Gainesville Super Regional. Wake Forest finished the year with a 43-20 overall record, the most wins in 15 years. The Deacon offense ranked in the top 20 nationally in homers, slugging (fifth - .509), runs (ninth - 481), hits (ninth - 693), walks (11th - 306), runs per game (13th - 7.6), doubles (15th - 129), on-base percentage (15th - .401) and average (.308). In addition to breaking the program home run record, Cilento also helped the Deacs break the program fielding-percentage record with a mark of .978.
He has helped the Demon Deacons post six straight winning seasons for the first time since the program tallied seven straight from 1997-2003. Wake Forest earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2016, defeating Minnesota in the opening-round game.
"Having worked with Bill for two years at the University of New Orleans, several things stood out to me," head coach Tom Walter said. "Bill has a passion for college baseball that is exemplary and is a tireless worker and relentless recruiter. He is also able to quickly and easily develop a mutual respect and unique rapport with his players."
Cilento joined the Wake Forest staff after serving the previous three seasons at Brown University where he worked as the hitting coach and the infield coach. As a team, Brown hit .308 during the 2009 season, finishing the year with a 24-19-1 record.
Cilento made an immediate impact with the Brown baseball program in his first season in 2007, helping the Bears to their first-ever Ivy League Championship and NCAA regional berth. Brown led the Ivy League in nearly every offensive statistic in 2007, including winning the batting average category by 39 points.
Walter and Cilento worked together at New Orleans for two seasons. Cilento worked with the Privateer infield during his two seasons at UNO and also assisted with recruiting. In his last season, New Orleans improved its record by 11 games, finishing fourth in the Sun Belt Conference.
Before his time at New Orleans, Cilento was an assistant at his alma mater, Siena. In three seasons, he coached five players who were selected in the MLB Draft, the MAAC Pitcher of the Year, a freshman All-American and six All-MAAC selections.
Cilento worked as a hitting instructor for the 2002 regular season champion Schenectady Mohawks of the New York Collegiate Baseball League, where he coached longtime big leaguer Hunter Pence. In 2001, he coached the American Legion's Cissel Saxon Post 41 in Montgomery County, Maryland, to the 2001 Maryland State Championship.
Cilento was a four-year starter at Siena and was a member of two MAAC regular season championship teams. He was also a part of the 1999 Siena team, which competed in an NCAA regional at Wake Forest Baseball Park.
A native of Brookeville, Md., Cilento graduated from Siena College in 2003 with a degree in accounting.
Cilento lives in Winston-Salem, N.C. with his wife Jennifer and his daughters, Brooke, Katie, and Megan.
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