Coach Scolinos: An Educator of Life

"I equate his leadership, his direction, his mentorship with the greatest coaches of all time. He was far more than a coach. He was a father figure for many people, even outside of the playing field."

John Love
Former Bronco Baseball Student-Athlete (1984-85)

"The new field will enhance the opportunity to attract exceptional student-athletes, while providing Cal Poly with additional opportunities for new sources of revenue. By partnering with community the new stadium will allow us to provide programming for at-risk youth and uphold the values and lessons Coach Scolinos instilled in our institution."

Randy Betten
Current Cal Poly Pomona Baseball Head Coach

"His reach with both athletes and students is immeasurable. In my mind, few ever deserve the description of an icon, but John Scolinos certainly is that."

Tim Mead
Vice President, Communications
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Former Cal Poly student when Scolinos coached

"Coach John Scolinos will forever be intertwined with Cal Poly Pomona. His unmatched accomplishments in teaching and coaching transcended him from ordinary to legendary. The new baseball stadium will transcend the university to new heights while honoring a legend and investing in the future."

Brian Swanson
Athletic Director
Cal Poly Pomona

"When I talk to people about Coach, I tell them he was a baseball coach who used the sport as a forum to spread lifelong messages. If there was one word to describe Coach, it would have to be that he was a man of selflessness. He always made time of himself to others. He was a man of faith who gave endlessly of himself."

Dennis Rogers
Head Baseball Coach, Riverside Community College
Former Bronco Baseball Player and Assistant Coach on Scolinos Staff

"Learning from Scolinos meant learning the game the right way. He was a highly principled individual. He was always telling me, 'I don't want any donkeys in my program.' But, the thing was, if you behaved yourself, he would never, ever cut you off the roster."

Ben Hines
Former Head Baseball Coach, La Verne College
Former Hitting Coach, Los Angeles Dodgers

Column by former L.A. Dodger GM Fred Claire for

He never played in the Major Leagues, and yet he impacted the lives of many who entered professional baseball. He placed more of an emphasis on playing the game the right way than winning, and yet he became one of the most successful coaches in the history of collegiate baseball. He won more honors and awards than he could recall, and yet he never mentioned a single achievement.

He was my friend, he was "Coach," he was John Scolinos, who passed away at the age of 91 in Claremont, Calif.

I'm among a band of hundreds of people who have been fortunate to spend time in baseball and who have been blessed with being able to call Coach Scolinos a friend. If you have followed college baseball through the years, you know that Scolinos reached a level of respect that few ever obtain. I consider myself fortunate in that I knew Scolinos before and after my 30 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In recent years, a group of former college coaches and those who have been involved in the game would meet about once a month in Claremont to have lunch with Coach. All of us treasured those times together. The regulars usually included Ben Hines, a former coach at nearby La Verne College who was the hitting instructor for both the Dodgers and Houston Astros; Bill Arce, former Claremont College coach who has been instrumental in the advancement of baseball on an international level; Mike Riskas, former Pomona College coach; and Jerry Miles, former director of both the College and High School Baseball Coaches Associations who recently wrote the book "John Scolinos: The Man, The Legend."

All of us realized we were in the presence of a great man at those gatherings, and yet it was John who seemed to be the most content even though in recent years, his agility, sight and hearing were failing. His smile and spirit never faltered.

With all of his aches and pains, the only time I ever heard the coach complain at those luncheons was when he wasn't allowed to pay a portion of the bill.

"He was a man of uncommon integrity, dedication and friendship," said Riskas. "He was the consummate baseball coach. He touched many lives and was highly admired by his players and coaches."

Scolinos coached Cal Poly Pomona to three national championships (1976, '80 and '83) and retired in '91 as the winningest coach in Division II history. Prior to becoming the head coach at Cal Poly, Scolinos spent 14 seasons at Pepperdine University, where his teams went 376-213. His record in 44 years of coaching was 1,198-949. Scolinos never spoke of his records or his achievements. It was the students and their lives that he cared about the most, and where he made his greatest contributions.

During my time with the Dodgers, I would invite John and his wife, Helen, to watch a game with me from time to time. After those visits, Coach Scolinos would never fail to follow up with a handwritten letter of thanks.

I saved some of the letters and I treasure all of the memories.

Story by Fred Claire on "Scolinos Was More Than Just A Coach"

Fred Claire was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1969-98, serving the team as executive vice president and general manager.