Story and photo courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. -- Nichols Family Director of Athletics Bob Scalise has announced that Bill Decker has been named the Joseph J. O'Donnell '67 Head Coach for Harvard Baseball. Decker will begin his duties immediately.
Decker, the 2008 ABCA National Coach of the Year, recently completed his 22nd season as head coach of the Trinity College (Conn.) baseball team. Trinity's all-time winningest coach, he owns a 529-231 (.696) record there while winning five conference championships and advancing to nine NCAA Tournament appearances and winning one national championship.
"We are extremely excited to have someone of Bill's character and background to lead our baseball program," said Scalise. "We are particularly impressed with Bill's successes at a well-respected academic institution such as Trinity. Harvard has a lengthy tradition of excellence in baseball and we trust that our program will thrive under coach Decker."
"Obviously it's a situation that nobody in baseball wanted to be in with the untimely passing of Joe Walsh," said Decker in a nod of respect to his predecessor who wore the Harvard uniform for 17 seasons. "Nevertheless this is a tremendous opportunity at a world-class institution and I greatly look forward to both those opportunities as well as the challenges to come."
I have been fortunate to spend 22 years at a wonderful place in Trinity College that's been home to me and my family. We went to nine NCAA tournaments, got to the World Series four times and managed to win one title. I step away from that program knowing it's healthy and knowing that I can share a similar situation with the wonderful people at Harvard."
In 2008, Decker led Trinity to a 45-1 mark en route to the school's first-ever NCAA Division III National title. After finishing the regular season undefeated, the Bantams ran their record streak to 44 games, which is the longest winning-streak in Division III history. The .978 winning percentage set a new NCAA record in any division in any sport.
On top of being selected as the 2008 ABCA National Coach of the Year, Decker was also selected as the New England Coach of the Year in 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2009 as well as the New England Small College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2000, 2003, 2008 and 2009.
In 2012, Decker led the Bantams to a 34-11 record and a fifth NESCAC Championship title. In 2009, the Bantams won the NESCAC Championship, and the New England Regional Championship to earn a second consecutive bid to the Div. III College World Series. In 2007, Decker's team advanced to NCAA Tournament play for the third time in five years and won four games in the regional.
In 2005, Decker guided Trinity to a 35-9 record and was named the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Coach of the Year. Trinity also won its second NCAA Division III Regional Championship title in three years and made its second trip to the NCAA Division III World Series.
Decker has been an active member of the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association as a regional coordinator. In 1997, Decker was a member of the USA Baseball National Trials coaching staff and has made summer trips as part of Major League Baseball International. Eight Trinity players have continued their baseball careers at the professional level in the past seven years, and Jonah Bayliss became the first NESCAC player in 10 years to appear in a major league game in 2006. Decker-coached athletes compete annually in the NCAA-sponsored collegiate leagues each summer.
A 1985 graduate of Ithaca College, Decker received a bachelor's degree in physical education with a minor in business. He also holds a master's degree in physical education with a concentration in coaching, which he received from his alma mater in 1992. Decker's baseball career was cut short due to injury in college but the two-sport star was a team captain and an All-America defensive back for the football team.
Bill resides in Simsbury, Conn. with his wife, Nancy, and their children, Kyle, Sarah and Kacey.