Pirates’ Joe Roberts Coaches His Way to Hall of Fame
Armstrong’s head baseball coach Joe Roberts will be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame this winter as a member of the ABCA's Hall of Fame Class of 2013. The induction ceremony will take place as a part of the ABCA's Annual Convention in Chicago on January 4, 2013.
“This is a tremendous honor for Coach Joe Roberts,” said Armstrong Athletic Director Lisa Sweany, “and I am very excited for him. This is a testament to the many, many years of hard work and dedication to the lives of the young men that have played for Joe at Armstrong. He is very deserving of this award, and Pirate Athletics is extremely proud of him and his accomplishments. “
The head coach of Armstrong baseball since 1980, Roberts joins a prestigious class that includes Bill Aker of Northern Kentucky, Dan Gallagher of Fordham, Woody Hunt of Cumberland, Ralph Rago of Cordova HS in California and Kent Shelley of Johnson County (Kan.) Community College.
Joe Roberts has directed the Armstrong baseball team to a winning season in each of his 33 years as the head baseball coach of the Pirates. While at Armstrong, Roberts has become the winningest active NCAA II baseball coach, with an overall record of 1,291-623 (.675), and is currently second on the all-time NCAA II coaching wins list.
During his career, the Pirates have become a perennial contender in NCAA II baseball. Armstrong is third only to Florida Southern and Central Missouri in NCAA II baseball victories, since his arrival at what was then Armstrong State in 1980 and, at one point, the Pirates were ranked in 110 straight national polls over seven seasons. The Pirates advanced to the NCAA II World Series in 1988, 1989 and 1994, and their 1990 squad was ranked #1 nationally in every single week of that baseball season.
In 2012, the Pirates became the first Peach Belt Conference baseball team in 15 years to sweep both the regular season and tournament titles in the same year. Armstrong has the most overall victories among Peach Belt members since its inception, and last year's title sweep gave Armstrong the second highest number of Peach Belt crowns ever, along with securing Roberts another PBC Coach of the Year Award. He now has nine various conference, region or state Coach of the Year Awards in his career.
Last year the Pirates finished No. 12 in the final poll, and it was the 13th time under Roberts that Armstrong finished in the Top 15 of a final national poll—they have now done it in four different decades. Armstrong went 41-16 in 2012, and it was the 14th different season reaching 40 wins in the Joe Roberts’ era. His teams have also won 33 or more games in 27 of his 33 years at the helm of the Pirates. The Pirates have also had 74 players sign professional contracts during his career.
Roberts’ contributions to college baseball have also been through his leadership and service on various committees throughout the years. He served seven years on the NCAA II Baseball Championships Committee, 12 years on the ABCA All-American Committee, 12 years on the ABCA Executive Committee, 6 years as NCAA II President for the ABCA, 24 years as the National Chairman for the Collegiate Baseball Magazine NCAA II Baseball Poll. He also served as President of the ABCA in 2011 and is a current ABCA Executive Board member.
Roberts was named to the St. Andrews University Hall of Fame in 1995, and he was only the fifth college baseball coach in 50 years inducted into the Georgia Dugout Hall of Fame in 2010.