Dan Bertolini, a Youngstown native with a proven record of winning and recruiting talented players from the region, has been named the ninth head baseball coach at Youngstown State University. The Poland High School graduate will be introduced at a news conference Thursday on campus.
"We are excited to have someone with a winning track record like Dan's lead our baseball program," Youngstown State Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo said. "Throughout the search process, it was clear that Coach Bertolini has incredible support locally as someone who will bring a competitive edge to our team. He has recruited our region for eight years and has developed relationships with high school, junior college and summer league coaches that will help him bring elite players to Youngstown State."
Bertolini comes to Youngstown after spending the past eight seasons developing the program at Mercyhurst North East into a consistent winner at the national level as its head coach. The Saints averaged more than 29 wins over his eight seasons at the helm and won at least 30 games in four of the past five years. He leaves the junior college program near Erie, Pa., as the winningest coach in school history.
"What an amazing opportunity it is to coach and impact the community that I grew up in," Bertolini said. "The facilities at YSU are really second to none, and when you mix that with the incredible academics it really is a home run for me. This is a great opportunity for my family and me, and to get the chance to coach at the Division I level is unbelievable."
Bertolini led the Saints to a pair of Region III titles in 2012 and 2014, and the team was ranked in the top 20 nationally every season from 2012-15. The Saints were ranked as high as No. 7 in 2014 as they went on to finish with a 31-10 record. Bertolini became the career wins leader at Mercyhurst North East as a 27-year-old in 2013, and he earned his 200th career win on April 26, 2015.
Bertolini's success has been largely based on recruiting the Youngstown area. On his 2016 roster at Mercyhurst North East, 20 of the 26 players hailed from within 90 miles of Youngstown. Of those 20, 11 are from Mahoning County or a neighboring county.
Mercyhurst North East was particularly strong on offense under Bertolini's tutelage. In 2016, the Saints registered a school-record .341 batting average, and they also set standards for hits (492), doubles (118), home runs (50), runs scored (492), RBIs (320), walks (177) and at bats (1,442). Mercyhurst North East's pitching staff also struck out a school record 293 batters. The Saints had set school records the year before for runs, RBIs, hits and doubles.
On the individual level, 55 Saints players earned All-Region honors in Bertolini's eight years at Mercyhurst North East. Bertolini also coached four Region III players of the year, two Region III pitchers of the year and a pair of National Junior College Athletic Association All-Americans.
Bertolini also has a record of emphasizing academics on his teams. Seven of his players at Mercyhurst North East earned NJCAA Academic All-America honors.
As a student-athlete, Bertolini was a four-year starter at Mercyhurst and set school records for games started, games played and consecutive games played from 2005-08. His senior year as a team captain, he was named Second-Team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and was a North Central Region Rawlings Gold Glove Winner at shortstop. Additionally, Bertolini was a three-time selection to the GLIAC All-Academic Team.
After his senior season he played professionally in the New York State League for the Westchester Federals and then in the Frontier League for the Midwest Sliders.
Bertolini is a 2004 graduate of Poland High School, and he got his start in coaching as an assistant for the Astro Falcons in the Youngstown Class B Summer League. He has also coached locally for the Ohio Glaciers.
Bertolini and his wife Breanna, who played Lacrosse at Mercyhurst, have a daughter named Eloise.