Rowan baseball coach Mike Dickson — a content, respected coach with a relaxed demeanor — just accomplished another career milestone. Perhaps his best to date.
With Rowan’s 13-4 victory on Saturday afternoon over 9-18 Rutgers-Newark, Dickson earned his 100th career victory as a Prof. This is in addition to his 360 wins as a former coach for Rowan College at Gloucester County (2005-2014).
Overall, between both schools, he has a record of 460-143, a .762 winning percentage, not including tournament games.
Not too shabby.
According to Dickson, he was unaware of the milestone win until one of his players notified him while on the team bus home from Jersey City.
As long as he’s not fired, Dickson says, he doesn’t plan on retiring from coaching anytime soon. When asked about the possibility of coaching 10 years down the line, he noted that “it’s a year-by-year decision.”
Senior infielder Shawn Leydon commented on Dickson’s milestone victory.
“It was really big that he [Dickson] got his 100th career win,” Leydon said. “I’ve been with him since my freshman year and I think that as the years have gone on, this team has been his team. Now we’re playing in full gear and everything’s going well,” he said.
Leydon also commented on Dickson’s philosophy and approach as coach.
“He tries to promote a competitive atmosphere, which I think is good for us, because it puts us in situations where it [actually] happens in the games,” Leydon said.
Dickson elaborated on his view of the milestone.
“I’ve been a part of a lot of games in my career,” Dickson said. “A 100 wins here, and I guess over 400 at my previous school [Rowan College at Gloucester County]. So, it was exciting when I heard about it. It’s nice to be a part of that here at Rowan and need many more.”
So far, not including conference tournament games, Dickson is 100-55 (.645) as the brown and gold’s skipper.
With the victory, he’s now just the fourth Rowan baseball coach in team history to tally 100 or more victories, joining Michael Briglia, Juan Ranero and John Cole.
Under Dickson, so far, eight Rowan players have made New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) All-Conference Team honors and in 2015, first baseman Casey Grimes was named NJAC Co-Player of the Year.
Outfielder Kyle Golla commented on Dickson’s accomplishment, as well as his managerial approach.
“It’s definitely exciting for coach, the milestone that he passed,” Golla said. “For the four years here, he probably just looks at it just like any other win but it’s definitely something to be proud of… He’s pretty straightforward, our practices are intense all the time, focusing on individual work. I think he’ll definitely be here coaching for awhile. Every year I think we’ve gotten better as a team, him understanding the program, where the holes need to be filled. He’s had good recruits every year, it’s been fun seeing this team evolve.”
In addition to the win, Dickson noted that there were a series of special memories that he holds dear as the team’s coach for the past four years.
“Obviously, last year, playing in the regionals as a coach and watching Andrew Cohen strike out 14 versus Emory [University],” Cohen said. “It was a great experience for me, watching him compete out there on the mound.”
An even more special moment for him occurred a couple of years ago when senior pitcher Richie Suarez was able to persevere after being diagnosed with cancer and his fight and determination, both on and off the mound.
According to the NCAA, he not only struck bad luck with his cancer diagnosis, but had to undergo chemotherapy and several hip replacements as well.
Dickson reflected on Suarez’s diagnosis and his tough battle to get back on the field.
“To see him persevere through something that’s bigger than baseball is great to see,” Dickson said.
Regardless of what team’s dugout he’ll be in, he plans on coaching for a long time and he considers coaching baseball his second passion next to spending time with his family.
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