Bowing out

Posted on 20 November 2013 by admin

Head baseball coach, Tony Dattoli, resigns 

Tony Dattoli, STLCC-Meramec’s head baseball coach, looks on as his team plays at Busch Stadium Sept. 8. Dattoli announced his resignation Nov. 11. PHOTO | CASSIE KIBENS

Tony Dattoli, STLCC-Meramec’s head baseball coach, looks on as his team plays at Busch
Stadium Sept. 8. Dattoli announced his resignation Nov. 11. PHOTO | CASSIE KIBENS


STLCC Archers’ baseball head coach Tony Dattoli resigned from his position with the baseball team on Nov. 11, after spending 11 seasons under the STLCC baseball programs. Dattoli will still keep his position as the STLCC Physical Education chair and a P.E. instructor at Meramec.

“At some point, things happen. You make decisions and you’ve got to look at it and go, ‘Which direction do you want to go,’” Dattoli said. “I’m 43 years old. At some point, I’m probably not going to coach again. I’ve got to put myself on a line where I can develop my career [as a teacher]. At the end of the day, I was fortunate enough to do what I loved. Things change. That’s the bottom line.”

Archers’ assistant coach Scott Goodrich will move into the head coach position and Zach Graefser will continue his duties as assistant coach. Goodrich played for Dattoli during his time at Harris-Stowe in the 90s and Graefser played for both Goodrich and Dattoli at Meramec from 2004 to 2005.

“Scott’s coached with me the whole time I’ve been at Meramec,” Dattoli said. “Both of them are former players of mine. They’re also former coaches underneath me. I think the progress of the program is going to go on without skipping a beat because of the fact that they’ve already been in the program.”

Dattoli, who joined the then Meramec Magic athletic coaching staff in the fall 2002, was 338-287-2 during his time with STLCC baseball. After the consolidation of STLCC athletics in July 2011, Dattoli kept the baseball head-coaching job. He was 278-231-2 with the Meramec Magic and 60-56 in his two seasons with the STLCC Archers.

“I think it caught everybody by surprise, but it’s not that I don’t love my guys. It’s not that I didn’t love my job. Things come to a crossroads and you’ve got to make decisions. At this point, I’m in great position,” Dattoli said. “I’m still doing what I love. I’m still teaching. I’m still working with the students. I’m still seeing my guys every single day. I’m just not on the ball field.”

In the 47 years that junior college baseball has been associated with Meramec, Dattoli’s 11 seasons gives him the second longest tenure, only to Ric Lessmann who started the program in 1967. Lessmann, a 1997 Meramec Magic Hall of Fame inductee, coached the now defunct Meramec Warriors from 1967-93. Todd Whaley took over the program in 1994, followed by Joe Swiderski in 1999.

In 2003, Dattoli became the fourth head coach in Meramec baseball history. In Dattloi’s first season, the Meramec Magic finished second in the Regions XVI Tournament. The following season, Dattoli had his first All- American — now St. Louis Cardinal third baseman, David Freese.

The 2006 season marked a personal best for Dattoli and his STLCC ball clubs. With a 46- 17 record, the Magic finished first in their conference and won the Regions XVI Title. It was Meramec’s first regional title since 1996. Dattoli was named Region XVI Coach of the Year, as well as the American Baseball Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year for NJCAA Division I.

Dattoli had eight seasons where his teams finished above 0.500. His 0.539 winning percentage ranks him third behind Lessmann (0.752) and Whaley (0.659).

According to Dattoli, there is not one singular moment on the baseball field that stands above the rest.

“In coaching baseball, I’ve had so many good experiences with relationships, establishing relationships and working with guys that I can’t honestly sit here and say that I can pick out one,” Dattoli said. “I would be cheating all of those kids, if I said one situation, I would honestly be cheating every one of those kids that gave every ounce of energy and sweat for me.”

Although Dattoli will no longer be the skipper of the STLCC Archers, he will still be a presence in the Meramec Athletic Department.

“To be honest, I get more sense of gratification when I’m working with some of the general student population and they achieve some of their personal fitness goals,” Dattoli said. “We’ve got some people that come in, in not so good shape and they leave after a year of taking our courses and leave with a different mindset— better mindset. They feel better about themselves. That’s much more important than turning a double play. That’s a life-changing event. So, I’m


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