When you think of Cal Poly Pomona athletics, one of the first names that comes to mind is coaching great John Scolinos. In 1987, Scolinos was honored with the ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award.
Scolinos led the Broncos to three national championships and 822 wins during his 30 years as the head baseball coach. At the time, he was the winningest coach in NCAA Division II history. Before coming to Cal Poly Pomona, Scolinos guided Pepperdine to a 376-213 record over 14 seasons. So, in 44 seasons as a head coach at Pepperdine and Cal Poly Pomona, Scolinos was 1,198-949. He was 822-736 at Cal Poly Pomona.
Inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 1975, Scolinos was named NCAA Div. II Coach of the Year three times and named Coach of the Decade for the 1970s by theCollege Baseball Newspaper. He was selected by former USC coach Rod Dedeaux to be the pitching coach for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Baseball team. Scolinos coached Cal Poly Pomona to six California Collegiate Athletic Association crowns in 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985 and 1988.
In 1985, Scolinos was named Diamond Baseball District 8 Coach of the Year. He was named the CCAA's Coach of the Year five times.
Scolinos graduated from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles in 1937. He was a member of the Army Air Force from 1942-45, serving time as an Air Craft Recognition Instruction and a B-29 radio operator in the Pacific Theater. In 1947, he saw action as a merchant seaman.
After the war, he completed his education at Pepperdine, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees.
In addition to his college coaching, Scolinos also had many experiences internationally. Prior to the 1986 season and for the first six games of the 1987 season, Scolinos traveled to Holland and Italy to conduct coaching clinics arranged by the Sports Exchange USA.
Scolinos also took the Pacific Coast College All-Stars to Japan in 1952. That was the first U.S. team to travel to Japan to play baseball after World War II. Later, Scolinos led the USA All-Star team against Japan in 1975 and he also coached the USA All-Star team in the World Cup Games in 1980.
Scolinos was inducted as part of the inaugural class into the CCAA Hall of Fame (2014), and was a 2003 inductee into the Cal Poly Pomona Hall of Fame. Cal Poly Pomona's baseball field is "Scolinos Field".
Named after the great Lefty Gomez, this annual award is presented to an individual who has distinguished himself among his peers and has contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally and internationally. The Lefty Gomez Award is sponsored by Wilson Sporting Goods.