Arizona Baseball Coach Jerry Stitt Resigns
June 29, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz.-Jerry Stitt, head baseball coach at the University of Arizona for five seasons, resigned today after 27 years as a part of the Wildcat program.
UA athletics director Jim Livengood confirmed that Stitt will not return as the Wildcats' mentor, and said assistants Bill Kinneberg and Victor Solis will not be retained. Livengood said senior associate athletics director Kathleen LaRose will head an immediate search for a new head coach and staff.
Stitt said, 'The past 23 years, 18 as an assistant coach to Jerry Kindall and the last five as head coach, have afforded me the rare opportunity to work at an institution that I have loved since the first day I set foot on the campus in 1964 to play for Frank Sancet.'
'The Wildcat baseball program is on solid ground due in large part to the diligent efforts of my assistants, Bill Kinnebeg and Victor Solis. We have met the goals we set for ourselves six years ago: recruit Tucson first, field a team made up predominantly of Arizona student-athletes, run a clean program, be honest and forthright with parents and student-athletes, and stress academics, above all,' Stitt said.
'My lifelong commitment to the University of Arizona will continue and I will do whatever I can to support the entire Wildcat athletics program,' he said.
Stitt, 54, became UA's head coach in July 1996 after serving as an assistant under Jerry Kindall for 18 years. He leaves the program with a record of 157-124 (.559) in five complete seasons as the head coach.
'The University of Arizona and Wildcat baseball owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to Jerry Stitt for his work and efforts in Wildcat baseball the past 23 years,' UA athletics director Jim Livengood said. 'His integrity, commitment to the student-athlete and everything about him personally and professionally has been nothing but first class,' he said.
'Jerry's departure from the program does allow us to go in another direction, and to continue working toward taking Wildcat baseball to another level. The university, Tucson and baseball are a special combination, and we'll strive to bring the glory days to Arizona baseball, on and off the field,' Livengood said.
Only the fourth head coach to lead the Wildcats in over 80 years, Stitt has played a vital part in the vaunted success of the program, including serving as an assistant coach on two of Arizona's three national championship teams in the sport. Widely regarded as a top hitting coach, the Wildcats batted and impressive .327 under his guidance as an assistant and head coach. Fifty-seven position players have been taken in the Major League Baseball Draft during his tenure at Arizona, including major leaguers J.T. Snow, George Arias, Chip Hale, Trevor Hoffman and Terry Francona.
A 1968 graduate of the university, Stitt got his start with the program as a three-year letterwinner in the outfield. A lifetime .326 hitter for the Wildcats, his Arizona playing career culminated in American Baseball Coaches Association All-America honors following his senior season.
Upon graduation from UA, he was selected in the 36th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Cleveland Indians. He played three seasons in the Tribe's minor league system before returning to Tucson to teach and coach at Salpointe High School. A Salpointe Athletic Hall of Fame member, he recorded a 93-72 mark as the Lancers' head baseball coach from 1971-77. In 1978, he served as the athletics director for Grand Canyon (Ariz.) High School before returning to UA to serve as an assistant under Kindall.
In addition to his bachelor's degree in education, Stitt also went on to earn a master's degree in education and a doctoral degree in educational administration from Arizona in 1973 and 1993, respectively.
Jerry Stitt's UA Coaching RecordYear Overall Pac-101997 32-26 (.552) 13-17 (.433)1998 33-23 (.589) 12-18 (.400)1999 33-23 (.589) 13-11 (.542) NCAA Tournament Qualifier2000 26-30 (.464) 8-16 (.333)2001 33-23 (.589) 12-12 (.500)Totals 157-124 (.559) 58-74 (.439)