January 13, 2011 Contact: Scott Jamison 352.395.5616 firstname.lastname@example.org
THOLEN INDUCTED INTO ABCA HALL OF FAME
Gainesville, FL – On January 7, 2011, legendary Santa Fe head coach Harry Tholen was honored for his years of contribution to the sport of baseball with induction into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place during the ABCA National Convention in Nashville, TN at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Tholen is the fourth Florida Junior College coach and only the thirteenth national Junior College coach to be inducted since the inception of the Hall of Fame in 1966.
“I’m extremely honored to be a part of the ABCA Hall of Fame,” said Tholen. “It’s about so much more than the wins and losses; it’s about a lifetime of service to the sport for every one of the inductees. I’ve been extremely blessed to work with many outstanding people throughout the years.”
The ABCA Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors an amateur baseball coach can attain. Tholen joined Jim Hall (Lockport High School, IL), Marc Johnson (Cherry Creek High School, CO), Mark Sheppard (Seton Hall University), Gary Ward (Oklahoma State University) and Lou Yacinich (Grand View University) as 2011 inductees. Current members include among others long time Florida State University head coach Mike Martin, Louisiana State University legend Skip Bertman and former JUCO World Series Chairman Sam Suplizio.
“We are very excited for Harry and this well deserved Hall of Fame induction,” said Santa Fe Athletics Director Jim Keites. “He has been an important part of Santa Fe College and the Gainesville community for 30 years. Over that time he has helped countless numbers of student athletes achieve their dreams on the baseball field and academically. I can think of no one more deserving of this highest of honors.”
Hired in 1981 as Santa Fe’s first baseball coach, he led the Saints to a 526-423 overall record during his 22 years as head coach (1982-1985 and 1989-2006), including the schools first baseball State Championship and trip to the JUCO World Series in 1985, where the team finished third. He was named the 1985 Florida JUCO Coach of the Year and in 1992 and 1995 Mid-Florida Conference Coach of the Year.
Previous to coming to Gainesville, Tholen was the assistant baseball coach at Illinois State University from 1967-68, the head coach at Mayfair City College in Chicago from 1969-75 and the head coach/athletic director at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH from 1975-81. In the summer of 1991, Tholen was chosen by the American Baseball Coaches Association to coach in Italy and returned in the summers of 1992 and 1993 at the request of the Italian cities he coached in. In 1996, he was an assistant for the National Junior College Athletic Association All-Star Baseball team that toured Japan. He served as the Secretary of the NJCAA Coaches Association from 1996-97, the Vice President in 1998 and the President from 1999-2005. He was a member of the ABCA Executive Committee, the governing body of all amateur baseball, from 2000-2005 and served on the ABCA Board of Directors from 2003-2005. In 2000 he was the administrator in charge of taking groups of players to Japan and in 2004 he was in charge of taking groups to Beijing, China. In 1999 he was inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame and in 2004 he became a member of the Florida Community College Activities Association Hall of Fame.
In 36 years as a head coach, Tholen compiled an impressive 782-538 record. In 2006, with his baseball head coaching career behind him, he was hired as the full time Fitness Center Coordinator at Santa Fe, which he retired from on March 31, 2010.
In 2009 Tholen returned to the field as a volunteer assistant baseball coach under Coach Johnny Wiggs, a position he still holds. The team went on to win a school record 36 games in route to a State Championship and a runner-up finish at the JUCO World Series.