John Cole Named Penn Baseball Coach

Philadelphia – The University of Pennsylvania Athletic Department has named John Cole the W. Joseph Blood Head Coach of Baseball. Cole, who comes from Division III baseball powerhouse Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., will succeed 34-year coaching veteran Bob Seddon when he steps down after the 2005 season.

“We are very pleased to welcome John to the Penn Athletic Department,” University of Pennsylvania Athletic Director Steve Bilsky, W’71 said. “His extensive coaching background, knowledge of the game and strong work ethic gives us confidence that he will be successful at Penn.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity for myself and my wife, Elizabeth, and children, Cassandra (3) and Kevin (1), to come to such a prestigious institution and continue such a strong baseball tradition,” Cole remarked. “I want to come in and provide a lot of energy and direction to lead the Quakers to an Ivy League title. I have been fortunate to develop tremendous relationships with the players at Rowan - quality people who are also quality student-athletes - and would like to continue that at Penn.

“I have known Bob Seddon for a very long time and have great respect for the job he has done with the baseball program,” Cole continued. “Obviously it’s always a challenge coming into a new situation, but I know my job is to build chemistry, unite the group as a team and then head in the right direction together. I look forward to that challenge and am anxious to get started.”

Cole has led Rowan to a 14-0 start in 2005 and the Profs are ranked No. 1 in the Division III poll by Collegiate Baseball Magazine. He recentlycaptured his 200th coaching victory with a 15-1 decision over Gwynedd-Mercy, and his overall record in six-plus seasons at the helm of Rowan University is now 201-63.

Cole led Rowan to a fifth-place national finish in 2004 with a 41-8 record, after winning the conference title and earning a berth in the NCAA Championship Tournament. It was the baseball team's 13th New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship (NJAC) and 15th appearance in the national tournament. Cole was named the NJAC Coach of the Year, New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association (NJCBA) Coach of the Year and Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year. The year prior, Cole guided Rowan to a 31-10 record, the conference title and the NCAA Regional. Cole was named the 2003 NJAC Coach of the Year and the NJCBA Coach of the Year.

Rowan’s 41 victories in 2004 were a school record and Cole has led his Prof teams to a top-25 ranking in Division III four times in the last six seasons. He has coached eight All-Americans and has led Rowan to three conference championships (1999, 2003, 2004). Cole’s 2004 team also posted the best ERA in the country (2.40) and he has collected a 17-7 postseason record.

Cole went to Rowan after seven seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at The College of William & Mary. Prior to that, Cole served as an assistant baseball coach at Dartmouth from 1990-92 and Allentown College from 1989-90. In addition, he was an assistant baseball coach at Southern Lehigh High School in 1989, head baseball coach for the Limeport Dodgers during the summers of 1987-91 and assistant baseball coach at the University of North Carolina from 1986-88.

A native of Allentown, Pa., Cole graduated from Ithaca College (N.Y.) in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. Cole also earned a Master's degree in physical education from the University of North Carolina in 1988. He played professional baseball with the Boise Hawks Class A Northwest League in 1986.

Written by Carla Zighelboim