Courtesy of Wooster Athletics
WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster's Tim Pettorini has announced that he will retire as head coach of the Fighting Scots' baseball program at the end of the 2019 season.
Pettorini, in his 38th season at Wooster, is the active leader in Div. III coaching wins with 1,213 (1,213-446-6), all with the Scots. Last season, he moved up to fifth all-time in Div. III coaching wins on April 21, and in 2012, he was the seventh Div. III coach to log his 1,000th win.
"Wooster's meant everything to me," said an emotional Pettorini. "It's pretty important. I raised a family here, have roots here, it's home. The thing I'll miss the most is seeing the players every day. That's pretty special."
"It has been a privilege and an honor to have Tim as a colleague and a member of the athletic department staff for 30-plus years," said Wooster's athletic director Keith Beckett. "While I am very happy for him and Rhoda as they soon take the next steps of their journey, it is with sadness that I will bid farewell to one of the truly great Fighting Scots. Tim will be greatly missed. Reflecting on his achievements, the students, student-athletes, staff, and alumni he positively influenced, and the legacy he leaves, the only term that seems appropriate is unparalleled."
Pettorini's had Wooster's program positioned in the national spotlight since his arrival on campus prior to the start of the 1982 season. Wooster's made 25 appearances in the NCAA Div. III Baseball Championships under Pettorini, with his squads winning the Mideast Regional and advancing to the Div. III World Series six times (1989, 1994, 1997, 2005, 2009, 2018). There, Wooster has a pair of national runner-up finishes (1997, 2009) and a third-place performance (2005) to its credit.
Under Pettorini, Wooster's won a league-leading 18 North Coast Athletic Conference championships (1985, 1987-88, 1990-91, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004-06, 2009-10, 2012-13, 2016-18), while 212 all-conference certificates have been awarded to the Scots. Wooster student-athletes have earned 55 American Baseball Coaches Association or D3baseball.com All-America certificates under Pettorini, while Luke Ullman (2005) and Michael Wielansky (2018) earned ABCA Player of the Year honors during their careers.
Pettorini, among the top-10 Div. III coaches all-time in win percentage (.730) as well, has been recognized by his peers a number of times. He's been selected as the conference's Coach of the Year 13 seasons, was the ABCA NCAA Div. III Mideast Region Coach of the Year each time the Scots won the regional, and earned his first D3baseball.com Mideast Region Coach of the Year honor in 2017.
Some of Pettorini's most notable campaigns have come over the past 22 seasons, as the Scots have won nearly 80 percent of their games during that time frame (787-239-1; .767). In addition to averaging over 35 victories a season during this stretch, Wooster's consistently been within striking distance of a national championship. The closest the Scots came was in 2009, when they were twice a victory away from the title, but the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) upended them each time – 6-4 and 3-2 in 12 innings – as they settled for second-place to go with NCAA regional and conference trophies and a 43-11 mark.
Wooster was ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the NCAA Div. III coaches' poll every week of the 2006 and 2007 regular seasons, while producing the program's fifth 40-win campaign (42-7 in 2007) and becoming the first NCAC team to win a third consecutive conference title (2006). In 2005, the Scots finished third at the national tourney after becoming the first NCAC team to win the conference and regional crowns during the same season, while in 2004, Wooster hosted a NCAA regional tournament at Art Murray Field.
In 2002, one of the Scots' most talented squads put together a 34-3 regular season, highlighted by a 9-7 victory over Ohio State University – the program's second of three-straight wins over Div. I teams (8-4 over the University of Akron in 2001, 5-4 over Kent State University in 2003) – and was ranked No. 1 for four consecutive weeks. The 1997 and 1998 Wooster teams posted back-to-back 40-win seasons, including a school-record 46 in 1997, when the Scots advanced to their first national championship game before falling to the University of Southern Maine.
Prior to coming to Wooster in 1982, Pettorini taught and coached baseball at Fremont Ross High School. He turned the Little Giant program around, leading the team to a record of 64-20 (.762) between 1977-81.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Pettorini holds both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Bowling Green State University, where he was a four-year starter in the outfield. In fact, Pettorini was an all-Mid-American Conference selection and was drafted by the San Diego Padres at the end of his senior year.
But, Pettorini bypassed a chance to play professional baseball for the second time in order to pursue his true love – a career in coaching. He previously had been drafted four years earlier by the Philadelphia Phillies after earning all-state honors at Columbus Eastmoor High School.
"I vowed to myself that I'm going to push the guys every bit as hard, not harder," summed up Pettorini on the upcoming season. "I don't want it to be a we have to win the last game (mentality). But, I don't want them to think either that I'm sliding off here and letting this go, because that's what we're not about either. We're going to push them, get after them, and hopefully get the best out of them. If we do, we're going to be pretty good.
"I'm going to enjoy this season a little bit more," continued Pettorini. "I'll sit back and watch the game a little bit more."