In late April, head baseball coach Dan Bertolini recorded his 200th career win. An impressive milestone that only took 7 seasons to accomplish. Coach Bertolini began coaching the Mercyhurst North East Baseball team in 2008 and to date his coaching resume includes a career record of 205-168, the Region III Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2014, he is the winningest coach in MNE baseball history, he has had 4 straight winning seasons and 3 seasons with over 30 wins.
On April 26th, Coach Bertolini was celebrating with his sophomores, not because he just reached a milestone of 200 wins, but because they just beat a region rival in Genesee Community College 6-5 with a walk off run. On top of the huge win, it was also sophomore day, the last game the sophomore class of 2015 will ever play on Hirtzel Field, "The fact that it happened in such an important game and that it was on our sophomore recognition day, made it that much better for me," says Bertolini.
After the game, we asked Coach Bertolini a couple questions about his success and how he got there. When asked about how he got involved in coaching he responded, "I have always had a passion for teaching. I got an opportunity early to become a head coach and I wasn't going to let that get away." Coach Bertolini went on to reference an inspiration from his second grade teacher Mrs. Stewart who helped him realize at a young age he enjoyed teaching and helping people.
Coach Bertolini pulled inspiration from not only his second grade teacher, but mentions three others that have been important in his coaching career. "My dad has been instrumental to me in life. He was my first coach and still to this day helps me coach. Coach Spano (Mercyhurst Erie Head Baseball Coach) has helped me every step of the way. He taught me how to really care for the individual player and what it takes to be successful. My wife has been there for me through all the good and bad times and supports me either way," says Bertolini.
When asked what 200 wins means to him, Bertolini responded, "It's kind of a surreal feeling because I never really thought about it when I first started coaching. It's really a testament to all of the great players and assistant coaches I have had over the years. Assistant coaches Reid Lamport, Adam Gray, Wes Craig, Ryan Rovnak and Anthony Tomasone have been the best help a coach could ask for."
As Bertolini reflects on his inspirations and the help he has had to get to 200 wins, he attributes the program's success to the players and their mentality. "I really think the success here has been built by great players that have bought into a team first mentality." Bertolini adds, "The thing I hope all of the players take away from playing here is that they had fun, they were part of something greater than themselves and they learned on and more importantly off the field. This has always been about family first and "the me's" second."
Through all of the 200 wins, the success of the program, the importance of the family mentality, and the people helping along the way, Bertolini was asked if there was one specific moment he can say was his favorite as a coach and he responded with, "There are some great moments in my coaching career and some great wins we have had in the past 7 years. I don't think my favorite moment was any certain win but a memory I will always have that happened in batting practice before our first Region Championship in 2012. Tim Denman hadn't hit a homerun since little league and he hit one in batting practice before the elimination game against Genesee. He dropped his bat (in practice) and took his time around the bases. He then went on to hit two homeruns in the final three games and lifted us to our first Region III title."
Coach Bertolini's team ended the 2015 season with a record of 27-21 and were named Region III Runners-up. Though the past 7 seasons were impressive to say the least, we look forward to finding out what the next 7 seasons hold for the Mercyhurst North East baseball team and Head Coach Dan Bertolini. A congratulations are in order for Coach Bertolini's 200th win.