Siena’s Tony Rossi, the longest-tenured coach in Division I baseball history, has announced that he will retire later this month.
Rossi — in his 54th season, all at Siena — will step down March 20, the school announced Monday. Rossi’s retirement will make Minnesota’s John Anderson, in his 42nd season with the Golden Gophers, the longest-tenured active Division I coach.
“Tony Rossi has defined Siena baseball for more than five decades,” Siena athletic director John D’Argenio said. “He grew what was a Division II team with just 10 players when he started, into a Division I program with scholarship athletes that has gone on to win five MAAC championships and played in NCAA Tournaments.”
Assistant coach Joe Sheridan will officially take over as Siena’s interim coach when Rossi steps down.
But Sheridan and volunteer assistant coach Bobby Bordieri will be the only coaches with the team for a three-game series this weekend at Florida, the school said, and Rossi told The Times Union of Albany, New York.
He does not intend to coach any more games before his retirement begins.
“Nothing happened,” the 79-year-old Rossi told the newspaper. “Just decided to retire. … It’s time to go, I guess.”
Rossi is Siena’s all-time wins leader and the leader in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
He’s tied for second all-time in NCAA baseball history in seasons coached along with former Bentley coach Bob DeFelice, who retired last spring from the Division II school.
Former Division III coach Gordie Gillespie worked for 59 seasons, and is the only head coach at any NCAA level to have more seasons than Rossi.
Rossi has won six Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference coach of the year awards, five conference titles, two NCAA berths and has seen 56 of his former players sign pro contracts.
Rossi has a 936-1,202-8 record with the Saints, who are off to a 2-10 start this season — and aren’t even halfway through a run where they’ll play their first 27 games on the road.
The Saints won’t play a home game until April 4; that isn’t uncommon for teams in that part of the country, where snow is still on many fields and teams are forced to head south for much of their season just to fill a schedule.
Siena visits Florida this weekend, then will play three games at Richmond on March 18 and 19 in what are scheduled to be the final games of the Rossi era, even though he does not plan to be present for those contests.