San Jose, Calif.-----After accumulating more than 1,000 wins in a coaching career covering parts of five decades rooted in Santa Clara County, Sam Piraro is retiring as San Jose State University's baseball coach. Interim director of athletics Marie Tuite made the announcement.
"San Jose State University thanks Coach Piraro for 25 years of dedicated service to the university, Spartan athletics and his coaches and student-athletes. Under Sam's leadership, we had many successes and meaningful achievements on the playing field and academically. We wish Sam and his family all the best in the future," says Tuite.
#1 FOR SJSU BASEBALL COACHING WINS
Piraro, 60-years-old, recently completed his 25th season as the Spartans head coach. His major college coaching record is 806-632-6, all at San Jose State starting with the 1987 season. As the winningest baseball coach in school history, his Spartan teams had 18 winning seasons and a .500 mark two other years. San Jose State won Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championships in 1997, 2000 and 2009. The Spartans earned NCAA Baseball Tournament berths in 2000 and 2002 and advanced to the College World Series for the first time in 2000.
Three of his players earned Academic All-America honors. His players received 61 academic all-conference awards - 55 since joining the WAC in 1996. San Jose State's latest multi-year APR (Academic Progress Rate) score as measured by the NCAA was at an all-time high of 982 out of 1,000.
"I have been extremely honored to be the San Jose State University head baseball coach for the past 25 years. I have been blessed by being associated with wonderful young men and loyal assistant coaches. I have established a lifetime of friendships along the way," says Piraro. "I am looking forward to JoAnn (wife) and me entering a phase of our lives which now will allow us an opportunity to do things that we have not previously been able to do.
"In a Disneyland term, my time at San Jose State was an 'E-Ticket' ride."
The San Jose native and graduate of San Jose State was an infielder on the 1971 and 1972 Spartan teams. He began his coaching career in 1974 as San Jose State's junior varsity coach and compiled a record of 74-43 in three seasons. After three more seasons as the varsity team's assistant coach, he took the head coaching reins at Mission College in San Jose. In seven seasons (1980-86), he led Mission College to a 190-70 win-loss record, five Coast Conference championships and California Community College titles in 1981 and 1983.
Nine times, five at Mission College and four times at San Jose State, he was named the conference Coach of the Year. He was enshrined in the California Community College Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986. His coaching philosophy is evident throughout all levels of baseball in the state of California. More than 50 of his former players are baseball coaches either at the high school, community college or college levels.
O'BRIEN NAMED INTERIM HEAD COACH
Tuite announced that associate head coach Mark O'Brien will serve as the interim head coach while a national search is conducted for the next San Jose State baseball head coach. O'Brien has 17 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience including 10 as head coach at Santa Clara University, three College World Series seasons at Stanford University, three seasons at Cal Poly, and 2012 with the Spartans. O'Brien played his college baseball at San Jose State for Piraro in 1991 and 1992.