Contact Coach Wilson: email@example.com
Fresh off Duquesne's all-time furthest post-season run in 2008, Mike Wilson returns for his 16th campaign as the Dukes' head baseball coach in 2009. Since his hiring, he has considerably raised the level of play at the University and annually has the Dukes competing for a spot in the post-season. In fact, over the past six seasons, the program has qualified for the Atlantic 10 Championship on four occasions and was one out removed from making a fifth trip to the post-season during that span.
After a two-year hiatus from A-10's, Wilson led the 2008 team to a third place regular season finish in the conference with a school record 16 wins and captured a berth in the championships. On the strength of a talented senior class, the Red and Blue went 2-2 at the tournament, marking the first time Duquesne won two post-season games and also the first time it advanced to the third day of the event.
In 2005, in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, Wilson utilized a strong freshman recruiting class to lead Duquesne to the A-10's, capturing the program's first post-season victory. In 2004, he led the Dukes to a second straight A-10 berth after a 2003 season where he guided the Red and Blue to a school record 15 conference wins and a second place finish in the Atlantic 10 west division. The second place showing was also a Duquesne record and qualified the Dukes for its first ever Atlantic 10 Championship. In 2002, Wilson led his squad to a 26-23 performance which was a University record for wins in a season and it also marked the first time a Duquesne team finished above .500 since 1988.
Wilson, who captured his 300th career victory in 2008, was hired in August of 1993 and with just a handful of seniors managed a 13-36 record for the 1994 campaign. In 1995 with just four seniors, his team improved to 17-35 and in 1996 improved again to 19-29 for the most DU victories since 1987.
In 1997, Wilson's squad registered the University's first ever winning conference record at 12-9 and missed qualifying for the Atlantic 10 Championship by just one game. The 1998 and 1999 campaigns again saw the Dukes miss the A-10 Tournament by just one victory, but in the process set a University record for wins in a season each year with 22 and 24 respectively. His 2001 squad registered 20-plus wins for the fourth straight season while the 2000 team boasted a pitching staff that finished 32nd in the nation with a 4.20 ERA.
In conjunction with the team's improvement has been an increase in the talent level of the players. For the first time in 28 years, Duquesne had a player selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft as Joe Beimel was chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1998. Beimel recently completed his eighth major league season and is the first Duquesne player to play in the majors since 1970.
In 1999, Second Team All-American B.J. Barns was picked by the Pirates and played five plus seasons in the minor leagues. Jim Popp was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2002 and by the San Francisco Giants in 2003 and is currently playing for the Schaumburg Flyers of the Northern League and 2002 graduate Jason Startari has played for a number of teams in the Frontier League and the Canadian American League. In 2004, Dan Schwartzbauer was chosen in the 41st round by the Pittsburgh Pirates and recently wrapped up his professional career after four seasons at the pro level. He played for the Lynchburg Hillcats in 2006 and 2007 and for the Hickory Crawdads in 2005 after leading his rookie team in batting average in 2004.
Keith Meyer was chosen by the Seattle Mariners in the 15th round of the 2007 draft. Meyer played his first season of pro ball for the Everett AquaSox in the Class A Short Season Northwest League. He was 1-0 with a save and a 2.62 ERA in 18 appearances. He struck out 34 batters in 34.1 innings of work. He was also named the NOR Pitcher of the Week on Sept. 4. In 2008, Meyer pitched for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. He was second on the staff with 42 appearances and had a 3-5 record with four saves in 72.1 innings of work. He struck out 69 batters while walking just 29 and posted a 4.35 ERA. He will start 2009 as a member of the class A Clinton Lumber Kings of the Midwest League.
Most recently, 2008 graduates Aaron Janusey and Eric Morrison signed professional contracts. Janusey will play for the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League in 2009 while Morrison will play for the Texarkana Gunslingers of the Continental Baseball League
In addition, 1998 graduate Jim Davis signed a free agent contract with the Florida Marlins in 1999 and Gary Lee (2002) signed a free agent deal with San Diego in 2003. Another of Wilson's former players, his son Josh, was a third round pick of the Florida Marlins in 1999 and recently signed a AAA contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks with an invitation to the Major League camp. He made his Major League debut in September of 2005 with the Florida Marlins.
In his 15 seasons as coach, Wilson has produced 12 Atlantic 10 First Team All-Conference players and nine Second Team picks. In fact, in 2008 and 1999, two Dukes were named to the First Team and one was named to the Second Team. Wilson also boasts two Player of the Year recipients as Barns was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year in 1999 and Derek Mechling was the A-10 Co-Player of the Year in 2008. In addition, Barns was named an Academic All-American in 1998, Nick Danzuso and Rocky Kravetz were Academic All-Americans in 2000, Sean Wilson was named a First Team Academic All-American in 2003 and Steve Maiolo was named an Academic All-American and the Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year in 2005.
Wilson has served in several other coaching capacities before coming to Duquesne. He was an assistant at Pitt for one year, a volunteer assistant during spring camp at Louisiana State University from 1990-92 and an assistant coach at Mt. Lebanon High from 1975-80 and 1991-92.
Wilson began his playing career at Mt. Lebanon High School in 1965 before moving on to Hiram Scott and Chadron State. A 1971 graduate of Chadron State (Nebraska), he has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education. He was named a First Team NAIA District 11 shortstop at Chadron that year. The Dukes' skipper continued playing until just a few years ago, playing for a team from New Orleans that won the Over 40 "A" Division of the Roy Hobbs World Series in Florida.
Wilson has been involved with baseball in the Pittsburgh area most of his life. He was active in the Greater Pittsburgh Federation Baseball League for more than 20 years as a player, head coach and manager. His teams won Federation League championship titles in 1978 and 1979. A 1972 graduate of the Umpire Development School in St. Petersburg, FL, he officiated in the Gulf Coast and Citrus Leagues in South Florida for one year before returning to the Pittsburgh area. Also certified by the P.I.A.A., he umpired locally at the college and high school level for 20 years.
Wilson and his wife Vicki reside in Pittsburgh and have three grown children Matt, Josh and Mandy.