By Eric Brod
When Gene Depew’s career comes to an end at the conclusion of the 2012 season, his
31st as manager for Bison baseball , he will leave a legacy as the top manager in program history and one of the greatest leaders of the entire sports program. While accumulating numerous personal accolades, Depew has established the Bison as a perennial contender in the Patriot League and one of the most consistent programs in the nation. More than that, he has molded leaders through his teaching of baseball and life.
Depew, a 1971 graduate of the University, has won Patriot League Coach of the year four times (1993, 1996, 2003, 2009) and over his
31 years as manager has racked up 570 wins, by the far the most in program history. What is most impressive is how much the program has improved throughout his career, especially within the past 16 seasons.
During this time, the Orange and Blue have finished in first or second
in regular season league play eight times, have recorded 20 wins in 12 of those years and have had three 30-win seasons. Most impressively, the team has won five league tournament titles and captured the regular season title six times in past 16 years.
From 2008 to 2010, he was at the helm of three Patriot League title teams, with the team winning the league tournament in
2008 and 2010 and earning a regular season title in 2009. These three seasons represent arguably the most impressive stretch in program history. In 2010, Depew led the team to its fifth league title during his career as the fourth-seeded Bison defeated both top-seeded Army and two-seed Holy Cross on back to back weekends. During the 2009 campaign, Depew guided the team to a 13-7 record in league play. In 2008, Depew oversaw the most memorable and impressive win in program history when the Orange and Blue defeated No. 4 Florida State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. For Depew, this was also the most memorable moment of his career:
“I can’t choose a [favorite] team, there have been too many great ones. I can choose a game and memory: the Florida State 7-0 win in the NCAA tournament in 2008.”
It was only the fourth time ever that a Patriot League team won a game in the NCAA tournament.
Depew has also
overseen great individual players, having coached four Patriot League Pitchers of the year (Mike Tomko, 1996; Mike Anders, 1998; Kevin Miller, 2003; Ryan Ebner, 2011), four Patriot League Players of the year (Kevin Silverman, 1996; Frank Fresconi, 2000; Jason Buursma, 2008; Andrew Brouse, 2010) and two Rookies of the Year (Phil Futrick, 2003; Ben Yoder, 2007). While all the accolades won through his time have meant a lot, Depew says the most rewarding part has been to work with so many different players.
“The opportunity to work with talented, motivated and quality student athletes. So many things have changed over the years, but that has been the constant,” Depew said.
Bob Donato ’12, Coach Depew has certainly left a mark .
“Throughout the four years I have been with Coach Depew I have learned to always look at the positive side of things,”
Donato said. “He wants us to get better every day and put everything we have into it.”
Depew’s presence was felt
off the field as well.
“My favorite memory is the Johnny The Bell Hop card trick that
[Depew] does at the airport right before we fly down to Florida for spring break. He has never messed it up in my four years,” Donato said.
While Depew still has to finish this season out, he already has an idea of what he wants his lasting legacy to be on the program.
“I want to be remembered as someone who contributed to a positive Bucknell educational experience for my players.”