St. Xavier baseball coach will hang it up after 22 years and assistant will take over
He has been a head coach for more than 20 seasons.
He has racked up more than 700 victories.
He helped send 20 players to the professional ranks and 17 were named national scholar-athletes.
Now Palos Heights resident and head St. Xavier baseball coach Mike Dooley will have one more ride before calling it a career. Dooley announced he will retire after the 2014 campaign — his 22nd year at the helm.
The SXU Athletics Department announced that current assistant coach Rocco Mossuto will take over for Dooley after July 1.
The Cougars program has been around 42 years and had just three head coaches — John Boles (1973-79), John Morrey (1980-92) and Dooley.
“After 42 years as an educator and 33 years with the Saint Xavier University baseball program, including the last 21 years as the head coach, I felt that at the end of the school year and baseball season was the right time to step aside,” Dooley said in a news release.
“I would like to thank the Sisters of Mercy and Saint Xavier University for giving me the opportunity to fulfill all my personal dreams and professional ambitions. I have formed many special relationships with my players and that is the thing I will miss the most about coaching. I would also like to thank my wife, Barbara, and all of the guys who have coached with me over the years, especially John Morrey, Tony D’Anza, John ‘Happy’ Harasen and Tom Lyons.”
Under his direction, the Cougars amassed an overall record of 785-472-3 (.624 win percentage) since 1993. The program also won nine Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference titles, four regional titles and a NAIA World Series berth (2006).
In addition to his coaching duties, Dooley is also an instructor in the physical education department at SXU and serves as an assistant athletics director. On Feb. 1, he will be inducted into the Saint Xavier University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Mossuto is no stranger to the Cougars baseball program.
The Oak Forest resident played for SXU from 1999-2002 and has been an assistant coach since 2010. He has also had coaching stints for a number of other Chicago area institutions over the past decade, serving as pitching coach for Illinois Institute of Technology from 2008-10 and for Dominican University from 2006-08.
Mossuto played one season overseas for the Lodi Old Rags Baseball Club out of the Italy Professional Baseball League in 2004. During his career as a pitcher at SXU, he was a two-time All-CCAC selection as well as a NAIA All-American Honorable Mention in 2002.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Mossuto said in a news release about the pending promotion. “As a former player here and a life-long baseball guy, this was a career opportunity that I’ve desired for a long time.
“Saint Xavier University has such a rich baseball history and I’m very humbled to continue its tradition of success. I love everything about this university, especially the players and coaches I have worked with over my career here. Cougar baseball has a special place in my heart, and I want to share that feeling with future generations of players and continue to build on the successes that this program has achieved.”