WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Shortly after wrapping up its regular season Saturday with a victory over James Madison at Brooks Field, UNCW honored the baseball coach who led them to more than 900 victories over the last 28 season.
Family, friends, current and former players and members of the administration of UNCW and the CAA were on hand for a ceremony honoring head coach Mark Scalf, who is retiring at the end of the season.
“Coach Scalf is a Hall of Fame coach, and a Hall of Fame human being,” UNCW AD Jimmy Bass said during his opening comments.
After a video tribute featuring kudos from several coaches including former UNCW coach Bobby Guthrie, South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner, Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore and East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin, Scalf addressed the crowd.
“Blessed to be a part of this university for 40 of the last 43 years as a player, assistant coach, head coach," Scalf said. "And I maintain that I will remain part of this university. We’re not going anywhere. One good thing is I get to sit in the seats or on the berm and sit with all you folks that love to second guess.”
Scalf, whose No. 3 will now hang on the left field fence, is UNCW’s all-time winningest baseball coach compiling a 937-704-1 record. He has led the Seahawks to nine CAA regular season titles, five CAA tournament championships and to nine NCAA tournament appearances.
“I want to thank all our former players,” Scalf said, holding back tears. “You guys made it special.
"Before I fall slam apart, from my family to all of yours, thank you for a lot of great memories.”
Mayor Bill Saffo also was on hand to read a proclamation from the City of Wilmington declaring May 18 as Mark Scalf Day.
Assistant coach Randy Hood, who will take over as the Seahawks’ head coach next season, reminded the crowd Saturday that Scalf’s time at the helm isn’t finished.
“Our ride’s not over yet," Hood said after the victory over JMU sealed a spot in the CAA tournament for UNCW. "We got another week. And if people know how we play in the tournament, we’re going to play for several more weeks before we’re done.”
The entire ceremony can be seen below: