FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (Nov. 21, 2011) – After 30 plus years of coaching the New York Institute of Technology baseball team, Bob Hirschfield announced his retirement in late September. Plans are being sought out to keep Hirschfield on staff in an advisory position. Current assistant coach Michael “Butch” Caulfield will serve as interim head coach for the upcoming 2012 season.
“It has been a long run,” said Hirschfield. “But I’m not getting any younger. Somewhere you need to know when to stop. I want to spend more time with my best friend – Rita my wife, my children and grandchildren. I have to thank everyone from Sam Stern, Butch and lastly Clyde Doughty Jr., who I first knew as a student-athlete, and his support staff for all their years of support.”
“They tell me all good things must come to an end: and in this case that statement rings loudly,” said Director of Athletics Clyde Doughty Jr. “I have been with Coach Bob Hirschfield my entire athletic existence as a student-athlete and administrator at NYIT. He is a true professional, motivator and role model. Words cannot describe the positive impact he has had on baseball in the region and especially at NYIT. He will be missed on the field but will always remain a focal point of inspiration to everyone that has had the pleasure of interacting with him. I wish him the very best as he looks forward to increased time with his family and other endeavors.”
A native of Long Island, Hirschfield attended St. Agnes Cathedral High School and went on to become a pitcher/outfielder at St. John’s University (N.Y.). In 1968, the Red Storm, formerly known as the Redmen, reached the College World Series and finished in third place. In 1970 Hirschfield toured South America with the USA College All-Star Team. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a masters of science degree in guidance and counseling. After completing his playing career, Hirschfield returned to St. Agnes and began his coaching career. Serving on both the baseball staff, as head coach, and basketball staff as an assistant, he enjoyed championships with each team.
In the fall of 1978, Hirschfield joined the coaching staff at NYIT as the pitching coach. In 1982 he was promoted to head baseball coach, just one season after the program moved into the Division I ranks. In 2005, Hirschfield became the first coach in NYIT history to amass 500 victories in a career. In 2008 Hirschfield reached another coaching milestone, recording his 600th victory. His coaching record now stands at 668-715-15.
A retired guidance counselor/special education teacher in the Freeport (Long Island) school district, Hirschfield brings his expertise as a counselor to every individual in the athletics program. As a result, students have attained better grades and their graduation rate has increased in every season. His application of individual instruction, in addition to team guidance, has produced more than 50 professional baseball players whose careers have started at NYIT. Among them are: Ray Giannelli of the St. Louis Cardinals, Al Watson, a first round selection of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1991, and Brian Brady, a former member of the California Angels.
His coaching success has been recognized on the national level as four players under his guidance have been named ABCA Division I All-Americans (Fred Leone ’86, Paul Bruno ’90, Al Watson ’91, and Tom Merkle ’01). The Bears have found themselves nationally ranked in several categories as well.
While successful on the collegiate level, Hirschfield has devoted 30 years to fostering students’ athletic development through instructional schools. Beginning in Rockville Centre, N.Y., years ago, his summer baseball camps developed into the New York Baseball Academy. Based in Old Westbury, NYBA now has three satellite locations, offers summer baseball programs, winter pitching instruction, and conducts numerous clinics for little leagues throughout Long Island and New York City.
To honor the legacy of Coach Hirschfield, the NYIT Department of Athletics will host a farewell dinner and fundraiser for the baseball team on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at NYIT’s de Seversky Mansion. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased by calling 516.686.7504 or emailing [email protected]