Following a legend is never easy. In some minds, that is exactly what Tony Stoecklin will have to do. Stoecklin has been named SIUE baseball's Acting Head Coach. Stoecklin assumes the duties from Gary Collins who has taken the position of Director of Development for Cougar Athletics. Stoecklin is just the third head coach in the program's 45-year history. Roy E. Lee spent 11 seasons as the head coach prior to Collins' tenure.
Stoecklin played under Collins at SIUE in 1991 and 1992. The 1991 team advanced to the NCAA World Series. Stoecklin was an assistant coach for the 2001 team which finished fifth at the NCAA World Series.
SIUE Director of Athletics Dr. Brad Hewitt said he believes Stoecklin deserves the opportunity to prove himself and be rewarded for his commitment and dedication to SIUE Baseball--especially during the past five challenging years of Division I reclassification.
"Winning 28 and 27 games against the Division I opponents we have played the past two seasons is success as strong as any of our teams have experienced during reclassification," Hewitt said. "If we had been eligible for the OVC tournament these past two years, we would have been competing for an NCAA berth."
Stoecklin, a Roxana native, threw a no-hitter against Truman State in 1991 and compiled an 8-5 record. In 1992, Stoecklin started 13 games and went 6-4 with a 4.42 earned run average. His 14 career wins are among the top 25 in school history.
Following his Cougar career, Stoecklin was drafted in the 23rd round by one of the most prolific pitching organizations in Major League Baseball during the 1990's--the Atlanta Braves. He spent three years in the Braves organization and nine years in professional baseball. Stoecklin played six seasons in the Western Baseball League (WBL) with several teams. The left-hander left his mark on the WBL. Stoecklin ranks ninth all-time in victories with 22 and appeared in more games (229) than any pitcher in league history.
2012 marked Stoecklin's 13th season in the dugout as part of the Cougar coaching staff. In its final two seasons as a Division II program, SIUE ranked among the top two in earned run average among NCAA Division II schools. SIUE finished second in 2007 with a 2.51 ERA. In 2006, SIUE's pitching staff set a national record for shutouts with 21. The Cougars also were No. 1 in the nation with a school-record 2.09 earned run average. Stoecklin now looks forward to building on recent successes and progressing to postseason play once the reclassification process is complete this August.
Stoecklin has demonstrated how much he learned from the Braves by mentoring 17 SIUE pitchers who have signed professional contracts after leaving SIUE, including Spencer Patton, who was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 24th round of the 2011 first-year player draft. Patton was also recognized by the American Baseball Coaches Association when he was awarded a Rawlings Gold Glove following the 2011 season.
In 2012 Stoecklin oversaw senior Dustin Quattrocchi's transition to full-time closer. Quattrocchi finished his senior season with a 5-1 record and a 0.66 earned run average. His 12 saves were second in the Ohio Valley Conference, and he finished tied for ninth with five wins ‑ the most of any reliever in the league. Quattrocchi compiled 47 strikeouts in 41 innings while walking only five and allowing only 21 hits. He became SIUE's first All-American, in any sport, since the move to Division I. He was selected to third team by the American Baseball Coaches Association and was an honorable mention selection by Collegebaseballinsider.com. Quattrocchi is now playing professionally with Joliet of the Frontier League.
Stoecklin's success is not limited to training outstanding pitchers but includes stellar recruiting efforts of students who are both athletically and academically gifted.
"Tony has been our primary recruiter for many years and has brought quality student-athletes to campus who graduate, achieve high grade point averages and win on the field," Hewitt said.
This year's class of recruits includes local standouts Sam Hopkins (O'Fallon), Zach Malach (St. Peters, Mo.), and Caleb Wilkerson (Festus, Mo.).
Danny Jackson, who joined SIUE as an assistant baseball coach in 2011, will continue to work closely with Stoecklin as the Cougars' hitting coach. Jackson also has become a strong recruiter under Stoecklin's leadership. Jackson was highly coveted during his tenure at Edwardsville High School. He attended Wichita State and played for the Shockers as both a pitcher and first baseman. While at Wichita State, he earned Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Most Valuable Players honors in 2005 and 2006 and Most Improved Player for Wichita State and All-MVC honors in 2007.
"Danny has made a very positive impact on Cougar baseball during his 2-year tenure," Hewitt said.