FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
MACOMB, Ill. – Mike Villano, head coach of the Western Illinois Baseball program the last three seasons, announced his resignation on Wednesday (Aug. 22) effective immediately. Athletics Director Dr. Tim Van Alstine announced a replacement search will begin immediately.
Assistant coaches Shane Davis and Cooper Stewart (who assisted in running the program in fall 2009 prior to Villano’s arrival) will oversee the day-to-day operations until a head coach is named.
“I want to thank everyone with the University, Athletics Department, and Macomb community for making my time as head coach here an enjoyable experience. I met a lot of tremendous people who care about you not only as a student-athlete, or as a coach, but also as a person. I’ve been involved with baseball after college for 18 years, and everyone has to make decisions for different reasons,” said Villano. “I’m at a different chapter in my life to go experience a new challenge. I love Western, I love Macomb and I love these players… the foundation is here to win some championships and I for one will be their biggest fan.”
Villano, resigning to pursue an opportunity outside of coaching in business sales, took over the program in December 2009. With just over a month preparation with the players prior to the season-opener, Villano and the Leathernecks lowered the staff ERA by more than two runs and raised the team batting average 15 points to an impressive .312 average.
His first-year squad made improvements in nearly every statistical category during the 2010 season and finished 14-39. Those 14 wins tie as the second-highest total by a first-year coach in Leatherneck Baseball history. Villano had a player (Jason Summers) earn All-Summit League honors, and another earn Academic All-District accolades (Cole Wadell).
His 2011 squad made a return post-season appearance for the first time in three years, finishing 21-38 overall and 13-15 in the Summit League – nearly matching the program’s previous two year conference win total. The pitching staff’s ERA dropped another three runs to 5.03 overall while hitting 36 home runs on the season offensively. Three players earned Second Team All-Summit League honors.
Last year (17-35-1 overall) Villano and the Leathernecks began March with a road win at then-8th ranked Georgia. He guided three players to Second Team All-League honors, and saw two players sign Major League Baseball contracts after the season (Austin Cowen, Rich Mascheri). His 52 career wins through three seasons were the second-most in program history in a first 3-year time span behind the coach he preceded, Stan Hyman, and fourth overall in coaching wins.
“I want to thank Mike for his three years at Western and wish him well in his future endeavors. We will begin a national search immediately for a replacement. In a short time he made great strides in building our program, both athletically and academically. Five of his players were drafted or signed Major League Baseball contracts, and we recorded some huge wins for our program over nationally-ranked and well-known programs,” said Van Alstine. “Mike did a great job recruiting – both newcomers for this season and returners who will play a key role for us – so I see Western Illinois as a great coaching opportunity.”