COTUIT – Two-time Cape League champion helmsman Mike Roberts will be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame next month in recognition of his superlative, lifelong baseball and coaching career.
The ABCA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held January 2-5, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.
Roberts, whose Kettleers won Cape Cod Baseball League championships in 2010 and 2013, was the head coach at the University of North Carolina from 1978 to 1998, where he led the
Tarheels to two NCAA College World Series appearances (1978 and 1989), nine NCAA tournament appearances, won four conference tournament championships and were five-time conference champions. His lifetime record with the Tarheels was a phenomenal 780–428–3 and he was named the Cape League Manager of the Year in 2006. He also spent one season as head coach at UNC-Asheville.
“I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to mentor and teach and coach young people for 40 years. I have strived to make this an educational and leadership experience and not just an athletic endeavor for each student,” Coach Roberts said. “Hopefully, the student-athletes have grown and matured through this process as they have helped me to do. I want to thank the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Asheville Campuses and Wareham and Cotuit Franchises in the Cape League for the wonderful opportunities they have given me professionally on the baseball diamond.”
Roberts attended Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tennessee and then played for Tarheels head coach Walter Rabb as a catcher from 1970 through 1972 where he was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team in all three seasons. He was then drafted in the 34th round of the 1972 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in June 1972 by the Kansas City Royals. He played for the Billings Mustangs of the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 1972 and then the the Waterloo Royals of the Class A Midwest League in 1973.
Roberts was the field manager for the Wareham Gatemen in 1984 and 2000 before taking the Cotuit helm in 2004. His son Brian retired from Major League Baseball this year after a fine professional career (1999-2014) with the Baltimore Orioles and lastly, with the New York Yankees in 2014.
Eight of Roberts’s former players were selected in the first round of the MLB draft and 16 of his Tar Heels made it to the Major Leagues. Five of Roberts’s former players are collegiate head coaches and several are assistants. Walt Weiss, who played for Roberts at UNC and was American League Rookie of the year in 1988, is the manager of the Colorado Rockies. Joining Roberts in this year’s ABCA Hall of Fame Class of 2015 are high school and collegiate all-time greats Denney Crabaugh, Mark Fuller, Fred Hill (Rutgers) and Ray Korn.
Induction to the ABCA Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed by the organization. The ABCA was founded in 1945 and the Hall of Fame began in 1966.
— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm