RIP Coach Mike Gillespie

By: coachemup!

College baseball lost one of its giants in the coaching industry as former USC and UC Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie died Wednesday at the age of 80.

“Skip had a presence about him that you often see or feel, he was a true leader in every sense of the word. He was a master of baseball and he could see things coming that normal people could not,” UCLA coach John Savage said. “He was an elite teacher of the game and was a role model for myself and for so many other coaches. His impact was felt in every program that he led and any opponent that he ever faced. He was a true baseball coach — one that all he wanted to do was to be a part of a team.”

Gillespie was just two years removed from coaching the UC Irvine Anteaters, where he guided the program to a 32-24 overall record in his final season as head coach. During his time at UCI, Gillespie led 11 campaigns and guided the Anteaters to the College World Series in 2014 — just the second CWS berth in school history. He also amassed a 393-249 (.612) overall record. In addition to the CWS berth, Gillespie guided the Anteaters to five postseason appearances.

Before his stint with the Anteaters, Gillespie earned a stellar reputation during his 20 seasons atop the USC program. Gillespie guided the Trojans to 15 regionals in 20 seasons, reaching the apex of college baseball in 1998 with a national title victory over Arizona State. Gillespie finished his USC career with a 763-471-2 (.618). He first rose to prominence in the SoCal baseball world after starting up the College of the Canyons program from scratch and turning it into a juco powerhouse.

College Baseball will miss Mike Gillespie’s voice in the game.

Known for his honesty and ability to motivate, Gillespie’s personality will be missed in college baseball, but his contributions not forgotten. In addition to the impressive records he often put together at USC and UC Irvine, Gillespie helped many players kick-start their baseball careers that eventually led to the Big Leagues. Additionally, he actually spent one season — 2007 — as the manager of the New York-Penn League’s Staten Island Yankees, where he guided the club to a 47-28 overall record before joining the Anteaters in 2008.

Gillespie was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2010.

Thanks for the memories and your contributions, Skip.

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