NAIA College Baseball Coach Hits 1,800

Coach George Gillespie saw his nation-leading winning total reach 1,800 as his University of St. Francis (IL) baseball team downed in-state rival Robert Morris College by a 7-2 score in NAIA action Friday afternoon at RMU's Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill.

Sporting News Today carried news on this achievement in today's issue. Here's the 'backpage' item.

    JOLIET, ILL. — Gordie Gillespie, college baseball's winningest coach, earned his 1,800th career victory Friday as the University of St. Francis defeated Robert Morris (College), 7-2.

    The 82-year-old Gillespie is 1,800-910 in 57 seasons, including the last 23 at St. Francis. He began his coaching career in 1953 at Lewis College, where he spent 24 years, and also coached 10 years at Ripon College.

    Gillespie was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame last week, the first small school inductee selected in the hall's four years.

    Gillespie, who turns 83 on April 14, signed a four year contract extension before the season to coach at St. Francis through 2012.

Gillespie will be inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame on July 3, 2009. He is 927-539 (.632) with one NAIA championship (1993) in two stints covering 22-plus seasons at St. Francis.

He began his career at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., where he compiled a 634-241 (.725) record in 24 years and won three consecutive NAIA titles from 1974-1976. He also spent 10 seasons at the helm at NCAA Division III Ripon College (Wis.) where he posted a 239-130 (.648) mark.

Gillepsie also started both the football (1986) and women's basketball programs (1976-77) at USF besides serving as the head baseball coach, to go along with his duties as director of athletics from 1976-86 and athletic chairman from 1986-1995.

"In my 57 years of baseball coaching, I haven't changed my enthusiasm one bit," Gillespie told the Associated Press last week after the Hall of Fame announcement. "To see the kids doing what they do, the plays that they make is a real thrill. Every day is a World Series day for me. There's nothing else like it."

Gillespie, who turns 83 on April 14th, is the first active coach to be named to the Hall, which this year will also induct MLB executive Branch Rickey, Joe Carter (Wichita State), Darren Dreifort (Wichita State), Kirk Dressendorfer (Texas), Barry Larkin (Michigan), Keith Moreland (Texas) and Rafael Palmeiro (Mississippi State), Coach Ron Polk and Todd Walker (LSU). The organization is run by the Lubbock, Texas-based College Baseball Foundation. Gillespie graduated from DePaul, Polk had a 35-year career as head coach at Mississippi State and is now a volunteer assistant coach at UAB, and Rickey was a former player and coach at Ohio Wesleyan and Michigan.

Note: USF dropped a doubleheader Saturday making Coach's career numbers 1800-912.

Link: Sporting News Today

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