Boston College volunteer assistant baseball coach Steve Englert will not be returning to the program for the upcoming season. A 1987 graduate of the Heights, he spent the last 12 seasons working with catchers and hitters and was considered by some to be part of the fabric and soul of the Birdball baseball program.
"(He) will definitely be missed," said head coach Mike Gambino through the athletic department's website. "He loves Boston College and working with the players. The boys love him and he shares not only a great deal of baseball knowledge but wit and humor with them. I know it was a tough decision for him, and we completely support and respect his decision. Nevertheless, it is a big loss. He has meant a lot to the program and has also helped me personally a great deal as I transitioned into a head coach. His absence will be noticed."
Englert joined the Eagles after stints at Holy Cross and Virginia Commonwealth, helping to lead both teams into their respective conference tournaments. Over his time at BC, 35 Eagles were selected in the Major League Baseball entry draft. His highest profile alum, Tony Sanchez, debuted with the Pittsburgh PIrates this summer after being the highest draft pick ever from Boston College. Sanchez was the fourth overall selection in the 2009 MLB Draft, three picks behind Steven Strasburgh and one of six collegiate players chosen in the top ten of that year. He started his career at Richmond, helping them to a #25 national ranking and trip to the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to his duties at BC, Englert has spent the last 15 summers as a coach with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League, the last 11 as their manager. He led Harwich to its first league championship since 1987 in 2008, winning a second title in 2011. He was named Manager of the Year in 2012 after leading Harwich to 27 wins and a league record 64 homers.
It was obvious when rumors began to trickle down that the possibility of Englert's departure would create a massive void. His presence and stability in the dugout often helped bridge the generations of BC baseball from the transition of the program from the Big East into the ACC, followed by its glory years under Mik Aoki. The loss and news thereof were met with sadness and disappointment by families of players both current and past. Englert himself was a revered man in Chestnut Hill circles, and he was considered one of the top flight managers of the Cape League. Some hoped that Englert would somehow be named manager of the Eagles, but the job ultimately went to Gambino.
On a personal level, I got to meet Steve Englert several times during my undergraduate days with the Cape Cod Baseball League. When I worked with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, there always seemed to be one or two Boston College guys playing at an elite level in the league. "Coach E" spoke highly of his BC guys, none of which he was allowed to coach under league rules prohibiting coaches from bringing in their own guys. He was always very open with his dugout and with the players, very welcoming to members of team media, and always seemed to understand that the intricacies of the game were what made summers and America's Pasttime so great. A true "BC guy," he also understood how to build at a place like BC, and his mentorship was evident through the evolution of the hitting game.
He will be sorely missed at BC, and, with the deepest of respect and admiration, we wish him the very best as he begins the first step of his post-Heights life.