The American Baseball Coaches Association is grieving the loss of of coaching legend and ABCA Board Member Tom Petroff. Petroff was the longest-tenured ABCA Lifetime Member with 67 continuous years of membership in the association. Petroff served as the President of the ABCA in 1984 after first becoming a member of the association during the 1956-57 membership year.
Petroff, the 1971 ABCA National Coach of the Year, received many honors during his lifetime including the 1975 ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award in 1975 for his significant contributions to the game of baseball locally, nationally and internationally. He was also the first coach to lead two different programs to the NCAA Div. I College World Series in Omaha.
Petroff completed his collegiate coaching career with a 522-282-4 (.648) record. He served as head coach at Rider from 1961-70, which included the school's only trip to Omaha in 1967. Petroff also led the Northern Colorado program from 1970-1985 and guided the Bears to six conference championships and NCAA Div. I playoff appearances, including a 1974 berth into the College World Series.
After leaving Northern Colorado, Petroff served as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa and as the Director of Field Operations for the Detroit Tigers.
A well-known clinician, Petroff conducted skills clinics in 40 states and six foreign countries. He was the head coach for the Netherlands in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, and was invited to Holland several times to help develop the skills of the Dutch National Senior Baseball team. He also coached the U.S. Olympic team in 1984 and aided the national team as Director of Instruction for the 2000 Olympics.
While at Northern Colorado, Petroff developed an educational physical sensory program entitled "See and Feel" for the hearing impaired. His UNC players instituted the program at the UNC Lab School with the hearing impaired students. Petroff continued the program at the University of Iowa, where he was co-director of the Deaf Baseball Development Program.
Once referred to by the great New York Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez as "as smart as any baseball man I've ever met," Petroff also had numerous studies published and copyrighted, including the Detroit Tigers Professional Baseball Club's Player Manual, and was a member of numerous Halls of Fame including the ABCA Hall of Fame and Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.