The W. Joseph Blood Head Coach of Baseball, John Cole has helmed the Red and Blue for seven seasons and has 28 years of collegiate coaching experience.
The 2012 season was highlighted by Penn's first-ever appearance in the championship game of the Liberty Bell Classic, held at Citizens Bank Park. Historically at a disadvantage due to the format of Ivy League weekend play followed by a Tuesday afternoon game, the Quakers flipped the script by scoring a combined 20 runs in wins over Villanova and La Salle to reach The Bank. First team All-Ivy performer Greg Zebrack helped the Red and Blue to a 17-win season.
Cole suited up arguably the most potent offense in school history in 2010, as the Quakers finished just two games back of Columbia in the Lou Gehrig Division. The Red and Blue scored more runs than any Penn team in a century, batting .324 with a school-record 462 hits. That offense sparked the Quakers to a 21-20 overall record, including a 10-10 Ivy mark. Six different players received All-Ivy honors, including Ivy League Player of the Year Tom Grandieri and two other first team selections in Jeremy Maas and Dan Williams.
In 2009, Cole's squad featured just one senior, as the team struggled for the middle portion of the season before finishing 5-3 over its final eight games. Four underclassmen were named All-Ivy for their efforts, including the Quakers left side of the infield in sophomore Dan Williams at third base and freshman Derek Vigoa at shortstop. Vigoa was also named the Big 5 Rookie of the Year for his play.
The 2008 season saw Penn send out a lineup of mostly freshmen and sophomores as the Quakers finished in third place in the Gehrig Division of the Ivy League. Cole coached two players, Steve Gable and Dan Williams, to All-Ivy and had three players named All-Big 5. Then-sophomore Todd Roth was named Big 5 Pitcher of the Year for the second season in a row.
In 2007, despite starting as many as five freshmen, the Quakers vaulted to the top of the Gehrig Division. Cole led Penn to a 20-19 record, its first winning season since 2003, and the team's 12-8 record in Ivy League play gave the Quakers their first Gehrig Division title since 1997. The Red and Blue achieved dramatic improvements in earned-run average, fielding percentage and batting average. The Quakers were selected Big 5 Team of the Year, and Cole was named Big 5 Coach of the Year.
In 2006, Cole took over a relatively inexperienced Penn team and led the Quakers to a second-place finish in the Gehrig Division. After a rocky start to the season, Cole's team split series with Harvard, Dartmouth and Princeton down the stretch. Against the Tigers, Penn won a thrilling 3-2 game in ten innings followed by a 9-7 win the following day.
Off the field and behind the scenes, Cole has originated several projects which have led to a renewed enthusiasm toward the program. A resurfaced infield with an astroturf halo and walks, hydraulic batting cages, state-of-the-art scoreboard and a Hall of Fame room with a ceiling which lists nearly all of Penn's rosters since the turn of the 20th century. These additions have added a first-class look to an already aesthetically pleasing Meiklejohn Stadium. He also created and currently serves on the Penn Baseball Sports Board, a group of alumni and friends of Penn baseball that oversees the program.
Prior to Penn, Cole led Rowan University to the NCAA Division III Tournament in five of his seven seasons as head coach. He compiled a 229-73 (.758) record during his tenure at the Glassboro, N.J., institution.
In 2005, Cole guided Rowan to a school-record 42-win season and an NCAA Division III World Series appearance for the second straight year. The Profs reached the quarterfinals before being ousted by the College of Wooster. Cole was named the New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association (NJCBA) Coach of the Year for the third straight season and Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.
In 2004, Cole led Rowan to a 41-8 record, the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) title, and his team advanced to the World Series after it defeated Arcadia, DeSales and Johns Hopkins. Cole was tabbed NJAC Coach of the Year, NJCBA Coach of the Year and Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year.
He guided Rowan to a 31-10 record, the conference title and the NCAA Regional in 2003, once again claiming NJAC and NJCBA coach of the year honors.
In Cole's first season as a collegiate head coach, his team captured the 1999 NJAC championship, which was Rowan's first title since 1979. He was named the NJAC and NJCBA Coach of the Year. The Profs set a school record for wins with 36, eclipsing the old mark of 29 established in 1978 and 1979. Rowan finished with a 36-8 overall record and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Cole came to Rowan after six seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at The College of William & Mary.
Cole graduated from Ithaca College (N.Y.) in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. He played professional baseball with the Boise Hawks Class A Northwest League in 1986. Cole earned a master's degree in education from the University of North Carolina in 1988.
Cole and his wife, Elizabeth, have three children: Cassandra (11), Kevin (9) and Andrew (6).