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ISU Baseball Coaches

Bob Warn, 1976-2006

Bob Warn 

The Indiana State baseball tradition starts at the top with one of collegiate baseball's all-time great coaches, Bob Warn. The legendary skipper enters his 31st season at the helm of the Sycamore program where he has enjoyed tremendous success and given a foundation for baseball tradition at ISU. Prior to Warn, the Sycamores had 23 head coaches over the previous 74 seasons. But since 1976, there has been only one coach for more than a quarter of a century.

During that span Warn has won an incredible 1,050 games including seven seasons with 40 or more wins. He ranks 10th in total victories among active Division 1 head coaches.

Warn has taken seven ISU teams to NCAA Championship competition, including a World Series appearance in 1986. In addition, he has also been named MVC Coach of the Year on three occasions. With three additional seasons at Iowa Western, Warn totaled 104 victories, which gives the coach a career record of 1,154-749-9 (.609) in 33 seasons of coaching.

Over his tenure, Warn has had 78 players go on to play professional baseball including 21 that have had successful major league careers.

Warn was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in January of 2003. He describes the induction as "the highest honor possible bestowed upon a head coach." "Next to the passion we (coaches) have for this game, to be honored by our peers is perhaps the biggest thrill to come our way," Warn said. "It is definitely something special for all of those associated with Indiana State baseball."

Baseball has always been in the blood of the Crystal Lake, Illinois native. He was an outfielder during his playing days, which have roots in the Missouri Valley Conference as well. He was a collegiate outfielder at Southern Illinois in Carbondale. While playing for the Salukis in 1968, they advanced to the College World Series. At the CWS, they dropped in a 4-3 decision to Southern California in the finals. Additionally, they finished No. 2 in the final Collegiate Baseball poll.

Following his playing days, he went straight into coaching while serving tow years in the U.S. Army at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. While at Ft. Polk, his ongoing quest for winning continued and has not stopped as he posted an impressive 50-9 record as a player-coach. Following a stint as a graduate assistant at Western Illinois, he went on to Iowa Western Community College. At Iowa Western, he posted a three-year coaching record of 104-38 before moving on the Indiana State in the summer of 1975.

Warn realized early on that coaching was what he was meant to do. "I was playing, too, but I found I got more enjoyment out of helping someone else with the game," he explains. "Until then I never realized that I was that sure of myself-that's all it is. A lot of people know how to play baseball; it's how sure you are in getting it across to someone else. As soon as I could see people would listen and what I said made sense to them, I knew coaching was what I wanted to do.

Since arriving on the Indiana State campus, Warn's record of achievement has been nothing less that remarkable. He led the Sycamores to a school-record 57 wins in 1985 and trips to the NCAA post-season tournament in 1979, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, and 1995.

Indiana State won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title in 1983, while the 1986 squad won the NCAA Mid-east Regional championship over a field that included Michigan, Oral Roberts, and Central Michigan, and advanced to the College World series. In 1989, the Sycamores won the MVC post-season championship - beating eventual NCAA champion Wichita State four times in the process.

His success on the field has garnered the coach many accolades both by his peers and other vital members of the baseball community. On three occasions, 1979, 1983, and 1984, he has been named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year. He has been inducted into the Iowa Western College Hall of Fame and the Indiana High School baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, respectively. From 1997-1998, he was named president of the American Baseball Coaches Association, after a stint from 1995-1996 as the first vice-president.

The coach's life centers around his wife Bonnie and his three sons, Brian, brad, and Barry, who have all played for him at Indiana State. Brian was a four-year starter at second base for the Sycamores from 1993-1997, while Brad played for ISU from 1994-1998, and Barry concluded his four-year career in 2003. Warn isn't the only coach in the family though. "She (Bonnie) rarely misses a game and she's a great coach. She bats 1.000 on decisions - after the face," Warn laughs.

Warn's Coaching Career Highlights
26 seasons with .500 or better winning percentage
1,050 total victories ranks 10th in among active Division 1 head baseball coaches
1,050 total victories ranks 28th all-time among Division 1 head baseball coaches
Nine 40-plus win seasons
Seven NCAA Tournament appearances
Three-time MVC Coach of the Year (1979, 1983, and 1984)
Inducted into American Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame (2003)
Member of Indiana Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame (1990) and Iowa Western College Hall of Fame (2000)
His 1986 NCAA Mid-east Regional Champion team was inducted into the Indiana State Athletics Hall of Fame (2002)
President of American Baseball Coaches Association (1997-1998)
First Vice President of American Baseball Coaches Association (1996-1997)

(Taken from the Indiana State University Baseball Media Guide 2006)