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The Times
  • COLLEGE BASEBALL: Suspended Holowaty opts to retire from coaching

  • APRIL 29 COLLEGE BASEBALL



    Bill Holowaty, who last week was suspended from coaching baseball at Eastern Connecticut State University amidst accusations of verbal and physical abuse, announced his retirement after 45 years with the program late Friday.



    Holowaty was a star athlete at Mohawk High School and played basketball at the University of Connecticut.

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  • Bill Holowaty, who last week was suspended from coaching baseball at Eastern Connecticut State University amidst accusations of verbal and physical abuse, announced his retirement after 45 years with the program late Friday.
    Holowaty, who was a star athlete at Mohawk High School who played basketball at the University of Connecticut, will be inducted into the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame in June.
    The retirement, which was announced in a three-sentence press release from the university, ends one of the most successful careers in collegiate baseball history. Holowaty won 1,404 games, the most in New England history and third all-time in Division III. He is one of only three baseball coaches in NCAA history to lead one program to four national championships.
    Holowaty said he came to the decision to retire Friday morning. He was not specific, but insinuated there were outside influences that forced him into his decision to step down.
    “This has been handled very poorly,” he said by phone. “It's sort of out of line. I use two words, and I don't say too much, but 'evil' and 'sinful' have been the people (involved).
    “It's a shame, but I (had) been thinking about leaving, whether it was this year or next year. So all the things accumulating made my decision (come) earlier.”
    Holowaty was suspended by the university for the rest of the season April 22 pending an investigation. Among the transgressions listed in a letter made public by Eastern Connecticut, Holowaty was cited for a failure to follow financial procedures as articulated in the department manual, an alleged throwing of a helmet into the bleachers during a game, and complaints of alleged public cursing and abusive language.
    Since then, an outpouring of reaction — both negative and positive — has come forth from current and former players and coaches. While some have agreed with the accusations, others have shown support, such as posting a picture of '22' — Holowaty's jersey number — on Facebook pages as a sign of support.
    Former player Scott Chiasson said a group of at least 50 former players, and possibly “hundreds” more, were to meet with history professor Dr. Stacey Close Monday to express support for Holowaty. President Elsa Nunez had asked Close to participate in the investigation.
    “I'm bothered, I'm upset. I feel like he got railroaded out,” said Chiasson, one of two former Warriors coached by Holowaty to reach the Major Leagues. “If everything that is being said is true then all the (past and present) players should be able to sue. The university should be held liable for the last 45 years because that's how long it's been going on, and it has allowed it.”
    Holowaty was suspended from coaching twice in the 1990s. He was disciplined by the school when a player alleged Holowaty had hit him during a 1994 game. Three years later, Holowaty kicked a another player in the dugout; he claimed that he was upset and meant to kick the bench.
    Page 2 of 2 - Last year, Holowaty sat out a game following an incident with an umpire and the NCAA’s Division III men's baseball committee banned ban the school from hosting a regional playoff for one year following an allegation that Holowaty had "engaged in unprofessional behavior," according to the Hartford Courant.
    Plans for Holowaty’s induction into the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame are moving forward as planned.
    “The Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame voted for him based on his accomplishments on the field,” Hall of Fame president Lou Parrotta said. “I believe we do him a disservice not to give him the honor.”
    Holowaty said he has always been a tough coach, and that his track record speaks for itself.
    “Bill Holowaty hasn't changed,” he said. “Fifty years ago, I was an aggressive, hard-working son of a (gun). My mom and dad were hard-working people. I'm an aggressive, hard-working son of a (gun) today.”
    Observer-Dispatch sports reporter John Pitarresi and Times and Telegram senior sports editor Jon Rathbun contributed to this report.
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