George Valesente
George Valesente
Organization: Ithaca College (NY)
Year: 2005 Inductee

A 1966 graduate of Ithaca College, George Valesente completed his 37th year at the helm of his alma mater in 2015. Valesente reached another miletsone by recording the 1,000th win of his coaching career during the 2012 season, and in 2014 earned induction to the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame. During the 2015 campaign, Valesente earned his 1,000th career win as Ithaca's head coach on March 14, and 1,100th overall on April 18.

Valesente, who has coached the Bombers since 1979, is now 1,018-453-8 at Ithaca in 37 seasons. His overall coaching record, which also includes stints at Brockport, New Paltz and Maritime, is 1,110-490-8 in 42 seasons.

During Valesente's college athletic career, he lettered in soccer, basketball and baseball and played on NCAA playoff teams in all three sports. In three varsity basketball seasons he scored 745 points, and at the time of his graduation he ranked third on the all-time school scoring list. Valesente's success carried over to baseball, where he set school single-game records for at-bats (seven) and runs scored (five).

From Ithaca, Valesente entered the professional baseball ranks. He spent four seasons in the minors, advancing as far as the Triple A level with the International League's Buffalo Bisons, the top farm team of the Washington Senators, in 1969.

Following his playing career, Valesente coached baseball at Brockport and at New Paltz for two seasons each. He was baseball and soccer coach at Maritime for two years before returning to Ithaca in 1978 to take his current post.

Valesente has guided the Bombers to two national championships (1980 and 1988), 10 World Series appearances and 29 NCAA postseason berths in all. His teams have never had a losing season and have won nearly 70 percent of their games. The Bombers have captured 17 league titles and two runner-up finishes during Valesente's career. Ithaca has won 11 of the 13 Empire 8 titles.

Valesente has coached 18 All-Americans and 31 players who have signed professional baseball contracts.

He has been honored many times for his coaching accomplishments. The Ithaca Journal selected Valesente as its male coach of the year in 1980, 1988 and 2013. He was voted the ABCA/Diamond Division III coach of the year in 1980 and 1988 and he earned district coach of the year recognition in 1980, 1981, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992 and 1994 and 2013. In 2012 he was named D3baseball.com's inaugural NCAA New York Region Coach of the Year and earned his eighth Empire 8 Coach of the Year award. He repeated as New York Region Coach of the Year and Empire 8 Coach of the Year in 2013.

He has extensive experience at the highest level of professional organizations, capped by three terms as a member of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee. Valesente also served three terms with the NCAA regional committee. He spent six years on the ABCA All-America committee and represented Division III as the Division III chairman on the ABCA Executive Board. Valesente has been active with USA Baseball, spending three years on the U.S. Baseball Federation Senior Olympic Team Preparation Committee, serving as business manager for USA Baseball's International Cup Tournament in Taiwan and coordinating clinic sessions in Columbia.