Ask 30 people to name the 10 best college baseball coaches ever and you’ll get 30 different answers. The NCAA has seen its fair share of exceptional, record-breaking coaches, and every fan has his favorite.
- Gordie Gillespie (Lewis 1953-76, Rupon 1996-05, University of St. Francis 1977-95, 2006-08) Not only does Gillespie hold the record for the collegiate victories at 1,783, he has also been named to thirteen Hall of Fame organizations. The 1998 “Coach of the Century” nod from Collegiate Baseball Magazine solidifies his spot as the top best college baseball coaches ever.
- Raoul “Rod” Dedeaux (Southern California1942-47, 1949-86.) Rod Dedeaux comes in as #2 of the best college baseball coaches ever with the tenth most victories. According to the NCAA, his teams won 1,342 games during his 44-year career. In 1999, both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Magazine name him as the greatest college coach of the twentieth century.
- Don Schaly (Marietta 1964-03.) Shaly holds second place for highest percentage of wins for all divisions, landing him firmly in the best college baseball coaches ever. During 40 years his 1,438 wins and .812 win percentage is impressive.
- Skip Bertman (University of Miami 1976-83, LSU 1984-01.) Bertman’s career includes 7 SEC and 5 National Championships, as well as holding the highest winning percentage for NCAA tournaments. In the 1996 Summer Olympics, Bertman led the US baseball team to the bronze medal. He was named the twentieth century’s second greatest baseball coach by Baseball America in 1999.
- Augie Garrido (San Fran. St. 1969, Cal Poly 70-72, Cal St. Fullerton 73-87, Illinois 88-90, Cal St. Fullerton 91-96, U of Texas 97-08.) For 56 years, Garrido has coached collegiate baseball, holding the second place for most victories with 1,668 wins, 777 losses and 8 ties. He coached the longest collegiate baseball game in history, a record-breaking seven hours and 25 innings. Recent arrest aside, he is still one of the best college baseball coaches ever.
- Cliff Gustafson (Texas, 1968-96.) Before Garrido, there was Gustafson. With a record-for-the-time of 1,427 wins, 373 losses, and two ties, his win percentage of .792 is still higher than his successor, Garrido at .682. Gustafson still holds the #8 spot for most victories and the #4 spot for highest winning percentage, according to NCAA all-division coaching records. That warrants landing amongst the best college baseball coaches ever.
- Bobby Winkles (Arizona State 1959-71.) Aside from coaching players like Reggie Jackson, Larry Gura and Sal Bando, Winkles was the first to coach varsity baseball for ASU. With three national titles, two NCAA Coach of the Year awards and three Sporting News Coach of the Year awards, it’s no surprise he was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 1997. The field at Packard Stadium in Arizona is even named in his honor, making him worth best college baseball coaches ever nomination.
- Ron Polk (Georgia Southern 1972-75, Mississippi 1976-97, Georgia 2000-01, Mississippi 2002-08.) Polk spent 35 years coaching college baseball. He holds the #9 spot for most victories in the NCAA all-division coaching records. With 21 NCAA tournament and eight College World Series showings, he retired in 2008 as the most winning coach in the history of Mississippi State. He also wrote the most commonly used college textbook on baseball, "The Baseball Playbook."
- Ron Fraser (University of Miami, 1963-92.) Dubbed the “Wizard of College Baseball,” he not only saved baseball at Miami, but his success was modeled to save Miami’s football program as well. His teams in the 1980’s drew 1.27 million fans to the stadium, the best turnout in college baseball history. With a career total of 1,271 wins, 438 losses, 9 ties, and a .742 percentage, his records still compete with today’s top coaches.
- Jim Wells (Alabama, 1995-09.) Wells holds the record for being the most winning coach in Alabama history. He has also holds bragging rights to NCAA tournament teams for ten of twelve seasons, three college world series, eleven SEC titles and championships and four 50-win seasons.
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