- Former head coach Bob Milano, who guided the California baseball program from 1978-1999 and led the Golden Bears to three College World Series, was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame on Friday, January 8, 2010 during the ABCA's convention in Dallas, Texas.
Milano was honored alongside former USC coach Mike Gillespie (currently at UC Irvine), Jim Stone (University of Massachusetts-Lowell) and Terry Ayers (Fenton, Ill. High School).
One of college baseball's most esteemed coaches, Milano retired in 1999 as the school's most successful baseball coach with 688 career victories. Head coach for 22 years and a veteran of 29 years directly involved in the Cal baseball program, Milano's career not only included three College World Series appearances and a stint in 1997 as the head coach of the United States National Team, but a gold medal as an assistant coach for the USA National Team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
"I am ecstatic to have been selected to the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame," said Milano. "It is a tremendous honor to be included among a group of coaches like Rod Dedeaux, Ron Polk, Skip Bertman and others who meant a lot to me and kept me going. My goal when I became the coach at Cal was to make it to the College World Series and I was able to accomplish that. And, now to have the opportunity to join two Cal legends, Clint Evans and George Wolfman, in the coaches' hall of fame...I couldn't be happier."
There was almost nothing Milano was not able to accomplish in college baseball, and more specifically for Cal baseball. During his 22 years as head coach of the Golden Bears (1978-99), Milano led his squad to College World Series appearances in 1980, '88 and '92; six NCAA Regional appearances (1980, '85, '88, '91, '92, '95) and a Pac-10 Southern Division title in 1980 when his team placed third at the CWS.
Milano concluded his coaching career with a 688-644-4 record, including Pacific-10 Conference Southern Division Co-Coach of the Year awards in 1980 and 1992. The veteran coach mentored 15 All-Americans and 49 all-conference selections during his head coaching career at Cal, including National Freshman of the Year Xavier Nady in 1998.
In 1987, Milano was the head coach of the USA National Baseball Team that placed fourth at the Intercontinental Cup in Barcelona, Spain, and was joined by former players, Brian Oliver and Jason Hill, on the USA National Team.
He was also an assistant athletic director at Cal from 1974-78 and a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee from 1990-96. In all, he spent 29 years directly associated with the Cal baseball family (1960-61 as a player; 1962-63 as a varsity assistant; 1974-77 as an assistant coach).
On March 19, 1994, Milano became the winningest coach in Cal baseball history, surpassing Clint Evans's mark of 547-256 (1930-54), when his Bears defeated Arizona, 15-6, at Evans Diamond. The Cal athletic department went on to honor Milano on April 17, 1994 on what was designated "Bob Milano Day." Another crowning moment for the veteran coach came in 2003 when he became only the fourth person in Cal baseball history to have his game jersey (No. 7) retired.
It is fitting that Milano should be the school's most successful baseball coach as he has not only produced results on the diamond, but has also worked hard to cultivate the Cal baseball family. He began every year with the annual Cal Baseball Alumni Game, followed by the season-opening banquet that often features past and present Major League stars.
A list of professional players who have passed through Cal baseball under Milano include Rod Booker, Bob Melvin, Lance Blankenship, Chuck Cary, Chuck Hensley, Jerry Goff, Jeff Kent, Kevin Maas, Darren Lewis, Mike Cather, Geoff Blum, Ryan Drese, Tyler Walker and Xavier Nady.