By Michael Coker/Black College Nines
Alabama State University head baseball coach Mervyl Melendez has approached and passed many milestones throughout his 15 year coaching career, but is closing in on a feat few in his profession have had the opportunity to experience.
After entering this season with a coaching career record of 468-400, the Hornets front man is now just four wins shy of reaching 500 career victories.
According to the NCAA, he will become the second-youngest coach in NCAA history to win 500 games.
Melendez, a graduate of Bethune-Cookmen University, is in his 4th season at the helm of the ASU baseball program where he has compiled 117 wins.
Since taking the reins in 2012, he has guided Alabama State to three Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) tournaments and in 2014 first in the Eastern Division as ASU advanced to the conference championship game for the first time in programs history.
An eight-time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Baseball Coach of the Year, Melendez, who was also named 2014 Coach of the Year by both the SWAC and the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association, has been widely recognized for his leadership characteristics.
The former head coach at Bethune-Cookman, Melendez led his alma mater to eleven Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships in his twelve seasons with two back-to-back undefeated conference seasons in 2010 and 2011, won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament from 2000 through 2004 and from 2006 to 2011.
Melendez won 379 games as coach of the Wildcats becoming the second-youngest coach in NCAA history to win 300 games.
Since his arrival in Montgomery, Alabama State baseball only schedules Division I opponents.
The 2015 Men’s College Baseball Nolan Power Index (NPI): which is a ranking of teams based on their win percentage and strength of schedule.
Of the possible 301 DI baseball programs across the country. Under Melendez, the Hornets (NPI) ranked No. 63 in games against Division I opponents only per the current Rating Percentage Index of 2015.
The 2015 season, the Hornets have play against five opponents and 12 games against teams which played in last year’s NCAA Tournament, including Louisville, who advanced to the College World Series, along with Cal-State Fullerton, Florida State, Jacksonville State, and conference foe Jackson State.
His 117 wins as Hornets’ head coach is the highest four-year total in the history of the program.
Coach Melendez success first began when he orchestrated the change in black college baseball diversity.
Melendez who hails from Puerto Rico recruited Puerto Rican baseball players while at Bethune-Cookman. This started and changed the course of HBCU baseball by the recruitment of Hispanic players. He has resurrected two baseball programs thus propelling his coaching status among the elite in Division I.
Now many of the HBCU baseball rosters in both the NCAA and the NAIA are filled with a high percentage of Hispanic ballplayers.
MELENDEZ AT ALABAMA STATE:
117 wins: highest three-season total in school history
Back-to-back 30-win seasons (32 in 2013; 37 in 2014); first time in school history
Three straight 20+ win seasons – first time in school history
37 wins in 2014 – school record (all against Division I opponents – school record)
21 SWAC wins in 2014 – school record;
Won 73.6 percent of conference games (53 of 72)
Advanced to SWAC Tournament finals for first-time in school history (2014)
Posted victories over Troy (four times), Auburn, #4-Miami, Georgia State, Mercer, UAB, Cal State Fullerton, The Citadel, Jacksonville State (twice)
Teams have posted 34 come-from-behind wins
Team cumulative GPA just under 3.0 in three seasons
Longest game winning streak 12 (2015)
MELENDEZ’ BIGGEST HITS: 52 VICTORIES OVER TOP PROGRAMS SINCE 2002
2002 – Florida Atlantic (twice), Iowa, Miami, Fla., Central Florida (twice), Florida International
2003 – Florida International (three times), Central Florida (twice), Iowa
2004 – South Florida
2005 – Tennessee
2006 – Central Florida, Seton Hall, Boston College, Pittsburgh, and Penn State
2007 – Tennessee, Florida Atlantic (twice)
2008 – South Florida (twice), Penn State
2009 – Michigan State (twice), Florida International, Miami, Fla. (twice)
2010 – Troy, Ohio State, Florida International
2011 – Auburn, Michigan State, South Florida, Florida International
2012 – Troy, Georgia State
2013 – Mercer, Troy, UAB
2014 – South Alabama, Auburn, Miami
2015– Cal State Fullerton, The Citadel, Troy (twice), Jacksonville State (twice)
Melendez Head Coaching Records:
|2000||Bethune-Cookman||33–28||10–8||3rd (Southern)||NCAA Regional|
|2001||Bethune-Cookman||26–34||11–5||1st (Southern)||NCAA Regional|
|2002||Bethune-Cookman||39–22||16–2||1st (Southern)||NCAA Regional|
|2003||Bethune-Cookman||30–28||11–5||1st (Southern)||NCAA Regional|
|Alabama State (2012–present)(SWAC)|
|2012||Alabama State||20–36||14–10||T–2nd (East)||SWAC Tournament|
|2013||Alabama State||32–25||18–6||2nd (East)||SWAC Tournament|
|2014||Alabama State||37–20||21–3||1st (East)||SWAC Tournament|
|2015||Alabama State||28-14||16–5||2015 Season In Progress|