|Organization:||College of St. Francis (IL)|
Gordon Gillespie, one of the winningest college baseball coaches of all time, was the recipient of the 1991 ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award.
In 61 years of coaching, Gordon "Gordie" Gillespie collected 2,402 coaching wins in three sports, four national titles in college baseball and five state titles in high school football.
His coaching career started at what is now Lewis University in 1950, when he took over the men's basketball program at the Romeoville school. Gillespie coached that team until 1965; he also was the Flyers' baseball coach from 1953-76 and athletic director from 1956-76.
Lewis made eight trips to the NAIA World Series during his tenure and won three consecutive national titles from 1974-76. In 1975 and '76, Gillespie also coached Joliet Catholic to IHSA football titles, two of the five state championships he won during a 27-year stint that began in 1959.
In 1976, Gillespie moved from Lewis to St. Francis. He was the school's Athletic Director from 1976-86, coached the Saints' first women's basketball team in 1976-77 and was baseball coach from 1976-95. He got back into football in 1986 when he launched the St. Francis program.
Gillespie left St. Francis in 1995, but he was far from done with coaching. He moved to Wisconsin's Ripon College, where his oldest son, Bob, was the Athletic Director and men's basketball coach. Gillespie took over as the school's baseball coach, became a regular presence at basketball practice and also found time to serve as offensive coordinator for Ripon High School, which won a state title in his third season there.
During his time at Ripon, Gillespie went 236-129 (.646), celebrated six division titles, five conference championships, and was named conference Coach of the Year four times.
After 10 seasons at Ripon, Gillespie came back to St. Francis for his second stint as the school's baseball coach.
Gillespie coached six more seasons with the Saints, retiring in 2011 with 1,893 victories in college baseball. That was the all-time best until 2015, when he was finally overtaken by fellow ABCA Hall of Famer Augie Garrido.
Gillespie, a member of 13 Halls of Fame including the ABCA Hall of Fame, was named the NAIA "Coach of the Century" by Collegiate Baseball News in 1998.
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.