Kansas City, Mo. – After a long and decorated career, former St. Francis (Ill.) head baseball coach Tony Delgado was named the Robert E. Smith Achievement Award recipient over the weekend at the American Baseball Coaches Association’s Rawlings-NAIA Awards Recognition Luncheon. Delgado spent 10 seasons as the head coach of the Fighting Saints.
Delgado began his time at University of St. Francis in 1980 after coaching baseball, basketball and tennis at both Illinois Tech and Lewis Universities prior. As the long-time assistant coach to Gordie Gillespie, it was the 1996 season that Delgado took the reins. In his 10 seasons at the helm, he finished with a 296-271 (.522) record and led the Saints to eight winning seasons.
The Robert E. Smith Achievement Award is given annually to a coach or administrator who has given oneself in an unselfish manner to the promotion of NAIA Baseball. Tony Delgado is the 19th winner of the award, which was first established in 1999 by the NAIA Baseball Coaches Association.
Also recognized was Southeastern (Fla.)’s Adrian Dinkel as both the ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year and the NAIA Baseball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year. Head coach of the NAIA National Champion Fire, Dinkel put together a championship squad in just his second season at the helm.
Dinkel led Southeastern to two-consecutive 50-win seasons and is 109-18 in his two seasons in Lakeland, Fla.. Prior to his time with the Fire, he led Sterling (Okla.) to new heights. During his five seasons, he compiled a 232-77 record and led the Warriors to five berths in the NAIA National Championship Field, twice to the Avista-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.
The 2018 season was the best for Coach Dinkel. His team finished with 59 wins, a program record for the second-consecutive season, and his first NAIA National Championship. Last season’s national title was also a first for Southeastern University Athletics.
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