ST. BONAVENTURE – St. Bonaventure baseball coach Larry Sudbrook, the winningest coach in school history among all sports, has announced that he will retire effective Dec. 31.
Assistant coach B.J. Salerno, a 2009 Bona graduate, will serve as the interim head coach for the 2022 season. A national search will begin to name Sudbrook's full-time successor.
Sudbrook led the Bona baseball program for the past 36 seasons after arriving at St. Bonaventure in 1985.
"It has been the greatest honor of my life to coach at St. Bonaventure University," Sudbrook said. "I'm unbelievably lucky to have a job that I've loved and to love coming to work every day. I've always coached with an edge and I've expected my players to play with an edge. When you lose that edge you want to do what is best for the program and make sure that the guys have a chance to play for someone who also has that edge. I felt that now is the right time to move on. This is Coach Salerno's ninth year with the program and he is the best hire I've ever made. He is more than ready to take over and be a head coach. He will not miss a beat in keeping the program going in the right direction."
Through the past nearly four decades, Sudbrook has left an indelible mark on both Bonnies baseball and St. Bonaventure.
He closes his career after leading Bona to 725 victories, the most by any Atlantic 10 baseball coach in conference history. His 321 conference triumphs stand among the all-time Atlantic 10 leaders as well. His win totals also easily represent the most victories by any coach in the history of Bona athletics.
"I speak for the entire St. Bonaventure University community in thanking Coach Sudbrook for his service to Bonnies student-athletes during his career," St. Bonaventure Director of Athletics Joe Manhertz said. "He has dedicated his life to coaching hundreds of student-athletes who have worn the Bonnies colors over the years. I am disappointed that I will not get to work with him, but I know that the program is in good hands and we look forward to honoring him and his career throughout the coming year."
Sudbrook's squads won 20 or more games in 22 of his seasons while winning two Atlantic 10 divisional crowns and reaching the A-10 Tournament nine times. One of his crowning achievements came in 2004 when Sudbrook guided the Bonnies to their only baseball Atlantic 10 championship in school history on the way to a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Between 1993 and 2013, the Bonnies won at least 17 games every year with an average of nearly 24 wins per season.
A three-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year (2000, 2006, 2017), Sudbrook's athletes have consistently found success both on and off the field. His players have earned all-conference accolades 44 times, while on 43 occasions, Bona's players have received A-10 academic all-conference selection.
"The absolute best thing about this job is the players," Sudbrook said. "I've loved living in the St. Bonaventure community, but the players are what makes it. To reach out today and talk to so many of the guys, those are the memories, the things you look back on. Will you remember winning the championship, beating Miami at Miami, sweeping a four-game series from Penn State, things like that, for sure. But the things you really remember are the players and the relationships you've had with them."
In recent years, the Bonnies had an All-American selection in four straight seasons (2017-20) with a fitting blend of academic and athletic success. The 2017 Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year, Aaron Phillips, earned All-America status that year while outfielder Sam Fuller received Academic All-America nods in both 2018 and '19. Outfielder Brendyn Stillman, the national leader in batting average for the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, garnered his own All-America recognition that season.
A total of 14 Bona players were chosen in the MLB Draft under Sudbrook's leadership, including four between 2015-17, while 22 have played in the affiliated minor leagues.
Sudbrook was inducted into the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
"Coach Sudbrook exemplifies everything good that St. Bonaventure stands by," said Steve Campbell, senior associate athletic director and the baseball program administrator. "His teams were well-disciplined and extremely well-coached. Most importantly, Larry's players represented SBU baseball and this outstanding university with class and appreciation for more than three decades. The third base coaching box may not look or sound the same, however, his presence and voice will always be heard. We wish him nothing but the best in his well-deserved retirement."
Sudbrook came to Western New York from Fairport, Ohio, where he led Fairport High School to four sectional titles in five seasons. He was a two-year letterman as a player at Lakeland (Ohio) Community College before graduating from Kent State. Upon arriving at St. Bonaventure, he inherited a program in its infancy in the Atlantic 10 after joining the conference in 1984. Along the way, he built Bonaventure into not only a preeminent program in the region, but also one of the A-10's most respected.
Sudbrook and his wife, Beverly, have two sons, Shane and Cory. Shane, '05, was a four-year letter-winner at St. Bonaventure and followed his father's footsteps as an assistant coach for three seasons while Cory, '10, owns the Bonnies career appearances record, pitching in 84 games between 2007-10.