St. Mary's City, Md. – "One of the great coaches, one of the great guys in college baseball" will step down in May following the completion of the 2016 season. Longtime St. Mary's College of Maryland baseball coach Lew Jenkins has announced his retirement after 22 years as the Seahawk skipper.
The Catholic University of America baseball coach Ross Natoli said it best when he described Jenkins as "…one of the great guys in college baseball." Jenkins has been a fixture on the St. Mary's City campus for over 20 years and he is known around the athletic department as "Sweet Lew."
Jenkins is now in his 22nd year as the team's head coach, with over 700 games under his belt. He started as an assistant with the Seahawk baseball program in 1994 before taking over the reins at the start of the 1995 season.
"Coach Jenkins is one of the finest and well-respected individuals that I have had the pleasure of working with during my 30 years in college athletics. Over the course of Lew's six-decade career in coaching, scouting, and administration, he has positively impacted the lives of countless young men at the high school, college, and professional levels," said Director of Athletics and Recreation Scott Devine.
"Lew comes to work everyday teaching and coaching with the highest ethical standards and moral values. In addition to his passion for coaching the sport of baseball, Lew continually emphasizes sportsmanship and scholarship to his players on a daily basis. All of these qualities have made Lew a perfect coaching fit in the NCAA Division III athletics ranks and for St. Mary's College."
St. Mary's has planned a celebration of Jenkins' career for Saturday, April 9th when the Seahawks host Southern Virginia University in a conference doubleheader starting at 11:00 a.m. We invite all baseball alums who have been through the program during Jenkins' 22-year tenure to return to the Hawk's Nest for this very special day.
The all-time winningest coach in the 45-year history of the program, Jenkins' 300-plus career wins include four 20-win seasons. The Seahawks recorded three straight 20-win campaigns between 1998 and 2000, marking the first three ever-such seasons in program history.
St. Mary's claimed the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) regular-season title and finished as the league runner-up in 1999 with a 26-7 record, earning Jenkins the CAC Co-Coach of the Year award. The Seahawks also set team records for most wins (26) and best winning percentage (.788). St. Mary's earned a berth in the CAC playoffs in all but one season under Jenkins.
Jenkins is well-known in the state of Maryland for his 25 years as the head coach of Surrattsville High School baseball in Clinton, where he won 326 games, No. 1 on the state's all-time list at the time of his retirement. In addition to coaching baseball, he served as an athletic director and a physical education teacher as well as a coach for wrestling, soccer and football.
Jenkins left Surrattsville after the 1993 season with a lifetime winning percentage of .718. After the state playoff system took effect in 1975, his teams qualified for postseason play 18 straight years and won 11 Prince George's County titles.
During his near 50-year long coaching career, he has notched nearly 700 wins between his high school and college coaching days. After his retirement from high school coaching, Jenkins spent three seasons as an assistant at two of the premier Division I programs in the region, Georgetown and George Washington Universities. Several players from those teams went on to play professional baseball.
Jenkins has 25 years of scouting experience as well, recruiting talent for the Texas Rangers and the Pittsburgh Pirates as well as the Major League Scouting Bureau. He coached youth baseball teams at the national and international levels, including mentoring the U.S. Junior National Team for four years and working with New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez.
He picked up the 2010 Achievement Award from Surrattsville HS, 16 years after being inducted into the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in recognition of his stellar high school coaching career. Jenkins was also enshrined in the Maryland State Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1994.
A 1959 graduate of the University of Maryland, Jenkins earned his master's degree in physical education from George Washington University. In 1991, he was awarded the U.S. Baseball Foundation's National Service Award.
Devine continued, "The incredible graduation rates and the number of high-caliber young men that have come through our baseball program during Coach Jenkin's tenure can be directly attributable to his professionalism, leadership, mentorship, and calm steadying influence over the baseball program."
During his tenure, Jenkins has coached two league rookies of the year (Steve Oursler, Chris Segal) as well as the 1999 CAC Player of the Year (Oursler). He has also mentored 24 Seahawks to 36 all-conference selections (12 first team and 24 second team). In 2008, Michael Broccolino '08 was selected as an Academic All-American.
"We have been extremely fortunate to have had Lew serving as head coach of the Seahawk baseball program over the last 22 years. I, along with our staff, our current and former players, and everyone else attached to Seahawks baseball, really look forward to celebrating Coach Jenkin's outstanding career throughout this upcoming baseball season," added Devine.
"Lew will always be a special part of the Seahawk athletic family. He is quite simply an incredible person, a highly accomplished professional, a beloved colleague, and a dedicated employee of the College who will be greatly missed by all of us who know him and work with him. We all wish Lew, his wife Marian, and the entire Jenkins family nothing but the best in this next chapter of his life," concluded Devine.
See what others had to say about Coach Jenkins:
Current assistant coach Michael Victory '12: "Coach Jenkins has been a great mentor to me as both a player and a coach. I was lucky enough to be part of his 300th win and over 100 wins in my time here. He has had a deep impact on so many players and will leave a lasting legacy on the program. It will be one more experience among all the others Coach has given me, being able to see his final trip through the CAC and hopefully, we can make it a special experience for him as well."
Gallaudet University baseball coach Curtis Pride: "Since I have been coaching at Gallaudet, I have gotten to know Coach Jenkins through the competition between our teams over the years. Our rivalry on the field has been both friendly and respectful. Coach Jenkins is undoubtedly one of the most respected and classiest coaches that I have had the privilege of knowing. I certainly will miss our pregame and postgame chats."
Devine said that the College would begin a national search for a new coach in mid-May.