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Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2005

He will take reins at national convention in Chicago Jan. 5-8

By Lindsay Shafer
Sports Information Office

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- As the end of 2005 approaches, the year 2006 is looking mighty bright for Eastern Connecticut State University’s Bill Holowaty.

In less than a month – January 6 to be exact – Eastern’s head baseball coach and professor of Health and Physical Education will begin a one-year term as the the 62nd President of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).

At the conclusion of the Jan. 6 Hall of Fame/Coach of-the-Year Banquet at the national convention at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago Jan. 5-8, Holowaty will officially take over the reins from current President Irish O’Reilly, the head baseball coach at Division II Lewis University, IL. Holowaty will become only the seventh president ever from a New England institution and only the second from a Division III institution in the past 23 years.

Holowaty's tenure as president comes almost four years to the day of his induction into the ABCA Hall of Fame, which occured Jan. 4, 2002 at the Orlando national convention.

Overall, the Mohawk, NY native and long-time Columbia, Conn. resident is anxious and excited to begin his reign. He says, “The ABCA is important to me because it has developed me as a coach and as a person. Listening to those speakers talk every year has certainly helped my philosophy of coaching baseball and my philosophy on life. The ABCA has been a very important part of my career and this is a way to give back to them.”

Holowaty has held membership in the ABCA for 35 years and throughout that time, has played an active role in the advancement of the organization and in the development and endorsement of amateur baseball. A former chairman of the ABCA’s Division III Executive Committee, Holowaty served from 1976 through 1995 as the Northeast Regional chairman of the ABCA Division III All-America Committee. For nearly four decades, he has also traveled extensively throughout the United States and foreign countries as a baseball ambassador, preaching the baseball gospel and staging clinics for youngsters and coaches alike.

Most recently, Holowaty conducted 26 pitching clinics in 16 days in five cities in South Africa last fall on behalf of Major League Baseball. Earlier this decade, he brought his team to the Netherlands to compete in the Eneco World Port Tournament.

The ABCA – which today counts its membership at 5,500 --  was formed in 1945 and has as its mission the advancement of the amateur game, primarily through the improvement of the coaching profession. As a non-profit organization, the ABCA discusses concerns and issues that are important across various levels of baseball and is a catalyst in promoting the game at all levels. The organization, which has its home office in Mt. Pleasant, MI, constantly tries to educate its members on the game of baseball. Members of the ABCA reign from every state in the country and there are also a number of international members.

A member of the Eastern faculty since 1968, Holowaty has worked his way up the ranks of the ABCA, beginning as the organization’s Fourth Vice President in 2002. During that time, he was in charge of organizing the proceedings of the ABCA banquet. As both the Third and Second Vice Presidents, Holowaty was in charge of the ABCA coaches’ clinics.

In his current role as First Vice President, Holowaty will serve as emcee at the Chicago Convention’s Honors Luncheon on Jan. 7. As good fortune would have it, Holowaty will help present to 30-year assistant Bob Wojick the ABCA/Baseball America National Assistant Coach-of-the-Year Award at that luncheon.

As president of the ABCA, Holowaty will represent the ABCA at a number of high-profile events in 2006, among them the Division I College World Series at Omaha in June, the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game July 11 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh and the MLB World Series, which gets underway Oct. 21.

Holowaty’s goal during this upcoming year is to “challenge the members of the ABCA to develop coaches and influence coaches,  because they are the ones that influence the youth.” The 38th-year head coach is adamant about improving youth coaching, as it is the key to developing the next generation of players.

If anyone is deserving of this prestigious and demanding position, Holowaty is certainly the one. He is the winningest coach in New England Division III intercollegiate athletic history, producing 33 post-season teams. Twelve of those teams have advanced to national tournament play. To date, Holowaty has compiled an overall record of 1143-419-5. Through 30 years of NCAA Division III baseball competition, only two programs in America  have won more than Eastern’s 95 post season tournament games; only two have appeared in more than Eastern’s 26 NCAA Division III tournaments; and none can equal his total of four national championships. Under Holowaty in this decade alone, Eastern won an unprecedented three straight New England championships and finished first, second and third, respectively, in national competition.

Holowaty has been named the national Coach-of-the-Year four times and regional Coach-of-the-Year 14 times. Over his 37 years of coaching Eastern baseball, his biggest asset has been consistency. Holowaty has led the Warriors to a 73.1 per cent winning percentage over this time, while averaging 30.9 victories a season. He was elected to Eastern’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990. Under his guidance, Eastern players have been recognized with all-America honors 46 times and 28 have signed baseball contracts with major league baseball organizations. His most recent professional draftee – Ryan DiPietro – was a sixth-round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in the summer of 2005.


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