Lisle, Illinois ~ John Ostrowski, one of the winningest coaches in NCAA Division III baseball, has announced his retirement after 43 years as head coach at Benedictine University.
"I have been very blessed to be at a great school like Benedictine," Ostrowski said. "I have had outstanding support from administrators, faculty and staff, and was fortunate to coach many outstanding players. All of that made this a dream job that I wouldn't have traded for any other."
Ostrowski won 990 games during his career at Benedictine. He became just the 10th coach in NCAA Division III history to win 900 games and only the sixth to do so at the same school. Ostrowski claimed his 900th career win in 2012.
Ostrowski built Benedictine into one of the most respected programs in the Midwest. The Eagles advanced to the NCAA Regional tournament eight times, the latest in 2013. Benedictine also made regional appearances in 1980, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2000 and 2003. Benedictine reached the regional semifinals three times in 1991, 1995 and 2003.
"John will be remembered as one of the modern-day founders of Benedictine University," outgoing Benedictine University President William J. Carroll, Ph.D., said. "His service and dedication to his students and the University serve as a model for all."
Ostrowski took over the Benedictine program in 1973 and finished 19-13 during his first season. His 1974 team won 21 games, the first of three consecutive seasons with 20 or more victories. Benedictine won eight conference titles during Ostrowski's first eight years.
Benedictine won 20 or more games 18 consecutive seasons beginning in 1987. Benedictine won 30 or more games three times including a school-record 32 wins in 2000. The 2013 team also won 32 games, advancing to the NCAA Regional tournament. The 1991 team finished 31-9-1, setting a school record for the fewest losses in a season.
Ostrowski's final team upset conference co-champion Marian University in the opening round of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference tournament and played in an amazing 19 one-run games.
"Coach Ostrowski leaves behind a tremendous legacy that has impacted the lives of many young men," Director of Athletics Mark McHorney said. "His impact was felt way beyond the diamond, and I thank him for his gracious and lengthy service to this institution."
Ostrowski began his coaching career as a student assistant at Lewis University under the late Gordie Gillespie, college baseball's winningest coach. Ostrowski then served as a graduate assistant at Nebraska State University (now Chadron State) before being named head varsity coach at Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison.
Benedictine won 16 conference titles and finished among the top two 33 times under Ostrowski. He coached more than 50 All-Region players and eight All-Americans. Many of his players have gone into coaching.
Ostrowski, the father of five children who lives in Palos Park with his wife, Mary, was inducted into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association (IHSBCA) Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Lewis College Hall of Fame in 2007.
A national search for Benedictine's next head baseball coach is underway.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors and 16 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fourth consecutive year in 2014. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the sixth largest in the Chicago area in 2014.