Virginia Tech baseball coach Chuck Hartman, who played his collegiate baseball in the Atlantic Coast Conference, is back in his old stomping grounds. Over 45 years later, the former University of North Carolina second baseman returned to the ACC last year, guiding Tech through its first season as a league member.
A lot has happened since Hartman last pounded the leather for the Tar Heels in 1957. Hartman, one of the college game's most successful and respected coaches, is entering his 28th season at Virginia Tech and his 47th season overall. His 1,424 career wins tie him for third among active Division I baseball coaches in victories and tie him for fourth all-time. Hartman's overall coaching record is 1,424-783-8, while his current record at Tech is 941-558-8.
Hartman earned the highest recognition a collegiate coach can receive when he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame during the ABCA 2004 annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Hartman's most recent honor came just a little over a year after his induction into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in November 2002, and it was magnified by the fact that he is already a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. Hartman was inducted into the NAIA Hall in 1989 for his achievements at High Point College (now University), where he coached for 19 years before coming to Tech in 1979. When you add his 1996 entry into the Salem- Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame and his selection for the Gaston (N.C.) County Hall of Fame in 1979, Hartman is now a member of five halls of fame.
Hartman and the Hokies have enjoyed some of their greatest success in recent years. In 2002, Tech shared the regular-season BIG EAST Conference championship with Notre Dame. In 2001, the Hokies posted four wins against Notre Dame and finished second in the BIG EAST Tournament. Tech won the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament in 2000, 1999 and 1997, earning a berth in an NCAA Regional each year. During the Hokies' 1997 NCAA appearance, Hartman's Tech baseball squad upset 10thranked Southern California in the opening game of the South II Regional. After directing the Hokies to a share of the 1995 Metro Conference regular-season championship, Hartman was voted the league's coach of the year. And in 1994, Hartman guided the Hokies to a Metro Tournament title and an NCAA bid.
One of the veteran coach's crowning achievements came in 1992 when he became just the ninth baseball coach in Division I history to win 1,000 games. The milestone victory came when Tech defeated Liberty University , 11-4, on April 27, and was sweetened by the fact it occurred during the Hokies' 100th year of baseball.
Hartman's formula for success has been built on more than wins. It has been built on his extensive knowledge of the game and his aggressive coaching style. It's been built on his personable, open-door approach as a "players' coach." It's been built on the respect and admiration he's earned as one of college baseball's top goodwill ambassadors.
A wide-range of organizations have recognized Hartman's many contributions to baseball. The Home Plate Club of the Washington (D.C.) metropolitan area has presented him a prestigious Lifetime Achievement in Baseball Award. He has also received the Willie Duke Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Raleigh (N.C.) Hot Stove League. In 1986, the state college sports information directors voted Hartman the Virginia Division I Baseball Coach of the Year, an honor he garnered again in 1992, 1993 and 1997. In 1989 and again in 1995, Hartman was named the Metro Conference Baseball Coach of the Year.
In 1984, Hartman was named to the coaching staff of the United States All-Star team that competed in the World Amateur Championships in Cuba. During the summer of 1985, he was in charge of the offense for the USA baseball team that toured Korea, Japan, the United States and played in the Intercontinental Cup in Canada.
During his tenure at Virginia Tech, Hartman has had five players compete for the United States in international competition and 12 players earn All-America honors. In the fall of 1991, Tech pitcher Brad Clontz competed in the inaugural USA Baseball Trials for Olympic candidates. Over Tech's 17-year association with the Metro Conference, 46 different Tech players earned All-Metro Conference honors under Hartman. In 1996, the Hokies' first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Tech outfielder Kevin Barker was the league's player of the year. Following the 1998 season, outfielder Matt Griswold earned the same honor and freshman pitcher Pat Pinkman was the league's rookie of the year. In 1999, Tech freshman pitcher Jason Bush was the A-10 rookie of the year. Tech players were named the MVP of the Atlantic 10 Championships in 1999 and 2000. Following the 2003 season, Tech senior second baseman Marc Tugwell was named the BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year and pitcher Matt Dalton became the first pure relief pitcher in league history to be named first-team All-BIG EAST.
During his coaching career, Hartman has had four players drafted in the first round (three of whom were not drafted out of high school) and a total of 80 players sign with the pros, including 56 at Tech. One of his Tech players, pitcher Brad DuVall, was a first-round pick in 1987 and '88.
As a player, Hartman made his mark at the University of North Carolina through determination and hard work. He graduated from UNC in 1957 with a B.A. in physical education and earned a master's degree in education from Carolina a year later. In 1958, Hartman landed a job as tennis coach and assistant basketball coach at High Point College. He also helped out in baseball, where, in the middle of the 1959 season, the head coach resigned.
When Hartman assumed the head coaching duties, High Point had won just eight games in the previous three seasons. By his sixth year, the Panthers won the Carolinas Conference championship, the first baseball title ever for the school.
Before he left High Point to move to Tech in 1979, Hartman directed his teams to 10 conference titles, five district championships and twice led a team to the NAIA National Tournament. His High Point clubs posted nine consecutive seasons of 30 wins or more, and six of his players earned All-America recognition.
Hartman was named the Carolinas Conference Coach of the Year five times, District 26 Coach of the Year six times and the NAIA Area VII Coach of the Year in 1976.
In his first four seasons at Tech, Hartman directed the Hokies to three state championships before the competition was discontinued. His 1981 squad won a schoolrecord 48 games, only to be outdone by his 1982 and 1985 teams, which each registered 50 victories.
Three of Hartman's Tech teams have finished the season ranked in the national polls. The 1981 team was ranked 20th by Baseball America and 29th by Collegiate Baseball. The Hokies' 1982 team finished ninth in the Baseball America poll, while the 1985 squad was rated 24th by the same publication. Hartman's Tech teams have won 30 or more games in 21 of his 27 seasons at the school and 40 or more games on six occasions. Fifteen of Tech's last 25 teams have hit .300 or better.
Tech has finished second nationally in home runs on three occasions during Hartman's tenure - 1982, 1986 and 1988. The Hokies have finished among the top 12 teams in homers eight times under Hartman and have finished nationally ranked in scoring six times and slugging percentage four times. Hartman's 1981 Tech team ranked fourth nationally in batting and third in both home runs and scoring. In 1995, the Hokies finished the season ranked 12th in home runs, 15th in fielding percentage and 22nd in double plays.
Hartman is married to the former Ellen Eaves of High Point. He is an avid golfer, hunter and fisherman, and was a collegiate basketball official for more than 20 years before retiring in 1987.
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