FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Baseball legend Bobby Valentine has been named executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Sacred Heart University, President John J. Petillo announced Tuesday.
Valentine replaces outgoing director, C. Donald Cook, who plans to retire at the end of June.
“We recognize that Bobby is an out-of-the-box selection, but we believe his entrepreneurial spirit, extensive sports background and love of athletics make him an ideal choice. He is a native son with strong name recognition, and his selection demonstrates Sacred Heart’s commitment to its athletic program and to innovation and excellence throughout the University,” said SHU President John J. Petillo.
Valentine, who is considered one of best athletes to come from Connecticut, said: “I am looking forward to this new opportunity at Sacred Heart University. I have served in a variety of roles throughout my sports career – experience that will serve me well as I take on this new challenge. It is exciting to find an opportunity so close to home where I can use my skills and experience to make a difference.”
In addition to his baseball achievements at Stamford’s Rippowam High School, Valentine was the only three-time all-state football player in Connecticut history. He was widely recruited out high school and attended college at the University of Southern California. He was voted by Sports Illustrated as one of the best athletes of the 20th century from Connecticut. After his selection in the first round by the L.A. Dodgers, his 10 years as an MLB player included successful stints with the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Mets and Mariners.
After retiring as a player, Valentine remained in baseball. He was the third-base coach for the New York Mets before being named the manager of the Texas Rangers in 1985. As the Rangers’ manager, he was named UPI American League Manager of the Year in 1986. In 1994, he became the first American to accept a management position in the Pacific League of Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines. In 1996, he was hired as the manager of the New York Mets, where he led the team to the post season in consecutive years for the first time in team history and to the World Series in 2000. Most recently, he was the manager of the Boston Red Sox during the 2012 season. He has also been a broadcaster for ESPN and currently serves as senior baseball analyst for NBC Sports. In addition, he is the owner of Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery Café in Stamford.
“Bobby’s energy and commitment make him the right person to lead our athletics program into the future. He has a proven record of striving for excellence and succeeding,” said Jim Barquinero, senior vice president, Athletics & Student Affairs, at SHU. “Bobby sets the bar high for himself and for those around him. We are ready to take our Division I program to the next level, and we are confident that he can help us get there,”
Sacred Heart fields 31 Division I varsity teams, including 17 women’s and 14 men’s programs, as well as 10 junior varsity teams. Among New England private colleges, Sacred Heart University is one of only a small handful to offer such a diverse assortment of NCAA athletic programs. Sacred Heart competes in 23 sports in the Northeast Conference. During each of the past five years, SHU’s athletic department has won the NEC’s Commissioner Cup, which recognizes overall program excellence. Sacred Heart also won the first two NEC Building Communities awards for commitment to community service by NEC athletes.