The College of Wooster is home to the active leader in NCAA Div. III coaching wins – the one and only Tim Pettorini, who enters 2019 with 1,213 career wins (1,213-446-6), all at Wooster.
Pettorini, in his 38th year at the helm, became the fifth-winningest coach in Div. III history on April 21, 2018, and the Fighting Scots went on to win their league-leading 18th North Coast Athletic Conference championship (1985, 1987-88, 1990-91, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004-06, 2009-10, 2012-13, 2016-18) 11 days later.
A regular in the NCAA Div. III Baseball Championship field (25 appearances), Pettorini’s squads have won the Mideast regional and advanced to the eight-team finals on six occasions (1989, 1994, 1997, 2005, 2009, 2018). There, Wooster has a pair of national runner-up finishes (1997, 2009) and a third-place performance (2005) to its credit.
Pettorini, among the top-10 Div. III coaches all-time in win percentage (.730) as well, has been recognized by his peers a number of times. He’s been selected the conference’s Coach of the Year 13 seasons (1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1995, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017), was the American Baseball Coaches Association NCAA Div. III Mideast Region Coach of the Year each time the Scots won the regional, and earned his first D3baseball.com Mideast Region Coach of the Year honor in 2017.
Some of Pettorini’s most notable campaigns have come over the past 22 seasons, as the Scots have won nearly 80 percent of their games during that time frame (787-239-1; .767). In addition to averaging over 35 victories a season during this stretch (35.7), Wooster has consistently been within striking distance of a national championship. The closest the Scots came was in 2009, when they were twice a victory away from the title, but the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) upended them each time – 6-4 and 3-2 in 12 innings – as they settled for second-place to go with NCAA regional and conference trophies and a 43-11 mark.
Wooster was ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the NCAA Div. III coaches’ poll every week of the 2006 and 2007 regular seasons, while producing the program’s fifth 40-win campaign (42-7 in 2007) and becoming the first NCAC team to win a third consecutive conference title (2006). In 2005, the Scots finished third at the national tourney after becoming the first NCAC team to win the conference and regional crowns during the same season, while in 2004, Wooster hosted an NCAA regional tournament at Art Murray Field after sweeping then-No. 5 ranked Denison University for another league championship.
In 2002, one of the Scots’ most talented squads put together a 34-3 regular season, highlighted by a 9-7 victory over Ohio State University – the program’s second of three-straight wins over Div. I teams (8-4 over University of Akron in 2001, 5-4 over Kent State University in 2003) – and was ranked No. 1 for four consecutive weeks. The 1997 and 1998 Wooster teams posted back-to-back 40-win seasons, including a school-record 46 in 1997, when the Scots advanced to their first national championship game before falling to the University of Southern Maine 15-1.
Prior to accepting the Wooster position in 1982, Pettorini had taught and coached baseball at Fremont Ross High School. He turned the Little Giant program around, leading the team to a record of 64-20 (.762) between 1977-81.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Pettorini holds both a bachelor’s degree (1973) and a master’s degree (1980) from Bowling Green State University. As an undergraduate, he played baseball for the Falcons and was a four-year starter in the outfield. In fact, Pettorini was an all-Mid-American Conference selection and was drafted by the San Diego Padres at the end of his senior year.
But, Pettorini bypassed a chance to play professional baseball for the second time in order to pursue his true love – a career in coaching. He previously had been drafted four years earlier by the Philadelphia Phillies after earning all-state honors at Columbus Eastmoor High School.
Pettorini and his wife, Rhoda, live in Wooster and have two sons – Tim (46) and Terry (38), who both inherited their father’s passion for baseball. Tim was a four-year letterwinner at Wooster from 1992-95, playing an integral role on the Scots’ 1994 team, which reached the Div. III Baseball Championship, while Terry was an infielder and three-year letterwinner at Ohio State from 2001-03.