Baseball coach Rob Valli earned career win No. 300 against Delaware State back on March 20. Though Temple baseball has struggled to a 3-19 start to its season, Valli said he expects plenty more wins in the future.
Temple baseball coach Rob Valli notched career win No. 300 in a 14-6 win against Delaware State back on March 10. Despite Temple’s 3-19 overall record, Valli said he expects plenty more wins to come his way this season and beyond.
Valli came to Temple in 2006 after five seasons at Gloucester County College in Sewell, N.J. During his five years there, the Roadrunners appeared in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III College World Series every season and claimed the National Title in 2005 with a 50-7-1 overall record.
“He expects a lot out of [his players], and I think that’s why he’s been successful over the years,” first-year pitching coach and recruiting coordinator Chuck Ristano said. Ristano has known Valli since the coach’s days at Gloucester County College. Ristano coached for four years at Monmouth University, which is also in New Jersey.
“He’s just a great baseball guy, and he deserves a lot of success that he’s had,” Ristano added. “He truly is a player’s coach. The players really love playing for him, even when struggling.”
During his entire 10-year coaching career, Valli has amassed a 302-217-1 record. He is currently the fourth-winningest coach in Temple baseball history with a club record of 77-158.
In his first year, Valli signed nearly 30 players to National Letters of Intent. He has also improved the team’s strength of schedule. This year, the Owls faced perennial powers in Florida Gulf Coast, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Duke.
Valli said he believes the challenging nonconference games the Owls played to begin the 2010 season will only help his squad play better against Atlantic Ten Conference opponents. He has told his players to get ready for the “second season,” – the Owls’ remaining A-10 contests that ultimately will decide their postseason fate.
“We had a pretty tough preconference schedule, and I think it’s definitely going to get us ready for A-10 [games],” senior second baseman Tony Jusino said.
The Owls (3-19 overall, 1-5 A-10) have not started off the conference schedule as well as they did last year, when they won their first eight A-10 games.
“He’s going to get this [season] going in the right direction, that’s for sure, because we got some pretty talented players here that are going to start playing to their level of capability real soon,” Ristano said.
Valli knows what it takes to make the conference playoffs. In 2008, he coached the Owls to their first A-10 playoff berth in six years. Temple won a school-record 16 conference games and finished with a 27-29 overall record.
“More than anything, Coach is loyal,” junior pitcher Ben White said. “He just makes you want to be the best you can be all the time. He puts the time in, and that makes you want to do the same for him.”
White, who is 1-4 on the year, leads the team with 36.2 innings pitched and 38 strikeouts with a 6.14 ERA. Last season, White compiled 72.1 innings and led the pitching staff in starts (13) and strikeouts (49).
“He makes you want to play well, for yourself and the program,” White said. “He’s a great coach, and I probably wouldn’t be where I am in my career if it weren’t for him.”
Valli conducts annual preseason skills camps for middle school and high school players who want to improve before their seasons begin. Valli and his staff train the young players in their respective positions, while also teaching them about nutrition and the mental aspect of the game.
“He has always found a way to get the best out of people,” Ristano said. “Even when we’re really struggling, we really don’t harp on what just happened. It’s about what happens next.”
For Valli, that would be win No. 303.
Connor Showalter can be reached at email@example.com.