Vol. 19, No. 4Sept. 23, 1999

A Long-time baseball coach announces retirement

Bob Hannah, who has led the University of Delaware baseball program to more than 1,000 wins and national prominence over a 35-year career with the Blue Hens, will retire after the 2000 season, Edgar N. Johnson, athletics, announced in a press conference Tuesday morning at the Bob Carpenter Center.

In addition to Hannah's retirement, Johnson also announced that Jim Sherman, AS '82, a former All-American outfielder for the Blue Hens and the team's top assistant coach the past five years, has been promoted to associate head coach. A search for Hannah's successor will begin after the 2000 season.

"Coach Hannah has been one of the most successful intercollegiate baseball coaches in the country," Johnson said. "He has helped the University of Delaware baseball program gain national prominence. To those of us who have been fortunate enough to work with Bob, we recognize him as a Renaissance man, a wonderful, caring individual, a superb teacher, an outstanding coach and a valued friend. He has the respect and admiration of our entire campus community, which recognizes his many and significant contributions to academics, baseball and our community. We thank Bob for his years of loyal service and for giving us so many exciting moments on the baseball field."

One of the nation's most respected coaches, Hannah has posted a remarkable career record of 1,016-444-6 since taking over as head coach from Tubby Raymond in 1965, after three years as Raymond's assistant.

Hannah's 1,016 wins rank 21st all-time among all NCAA Division I head coaches and 14th among active coaches. His winning percentage of .700 ranks 24th all-time in NCAA Division I, including seventh on the active list.

Hannah, 67, earned the highest honor of his illustrious career in January, 1991, when he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame during the annual ABCA convention in New Orleans. He was a charter member of the state of Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.

Hannah has guided the Blue Hens into NCAA regional play on 11 occasions and led the Blue Hens to their only College World Series appearance in 1970. He has been named the NCAA East District Coach of the Year five times, most recently in 1995, and has been named conference Coach of the Year seven times. His teams have won 21 conference regular season titles, including five straight from 1994-98.

The Hens have had only two losing seasons in Hannah's 35-year reign, having reeled off eight straight 30-win seasons from 1976 to 1983 while adding 30-win seasons in 1985, 1988, 1991 and 1992. From 1994 until 1998, the Blue Hens posted five straight 40-win seasons. This past season, the Blue Hens overcame a 1-11 start to post a 35-25 record, win the America East Tournament title and advance to the NCAA Regionals. Hannah notched his 1,000th win in a 10-6 victory at Hofstra April 18.

Delaware's winning percentage of .734 this decade (380-138) ranks fifth among all NCAA Division I schools, trailing only Wichita State (.790), defending NCAA national champion Miami (.765) Florida State (.750) and Louisiana State (.745).

Under his direction, the Blue Hens have won at least 20 games for 27 straight seasons, posted 30 or more wins 17 times in the last 23 seasons, and posted eight 30-win seasons in the 1990s. His teams have posted a record of 118-26 (.819) during the last six seasons.

In addition, Hannah has coached 23 All-Americans and 32 Major League draft picks (14 during the 1990s) during his career, including pitcher Steve Taylor who was a No. 1 draft pick of the New York Yankees in 1977. Outfielder Kevin Mench, a two-time All-American and the 1998 Collegiate Baseball Magazine National Player of the Year, was drafted in the fourth round last June by the Texas Rangers.

A native of Trenton, N.J., Hannah attended Wesley College in Dover for two years before coming to UD. He earned his bachelor's degree from Delaware in 1961 and later earned his master's degree in education from Delaware.

A highly respected physical education professor at Delaware, Hannah previously chaired the UD physical education department for 14 years.

Hannah lives in Newark with his wife, June. They have two children, Heather, CHEP '90, and Bruce, a former Blue Hen standout first baseman who served as an assistant coach under his father at Delaware in 1994-97.