Former N.C. State head Baseball Coach and assistant Basketball Coach Sam Esposito gone at age 86

Posted by Andy Durham on July 10, 2018 at 3:26 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

Former NC State baseball coach Sam Esposito dead at age 86

He took N.C. State to their first College World Series appearance(1968), he led the Wolfpack to 4 ACC Baseball Titles, his last four N.C. State teams had a winning percentage of .711, and he was not only the head baseball coach at N.C. State, he was also the assistant basketball coach, alongside head coach Norm Sloan, and he helped lead N.C. State to the 1974 NCAA Basketball Title/Championship…

Esposito coached Tim Stoddard and Monte Towe in basketball and baseball at N.C. State and Stoddard later pitched for the Baltimore Orioles….Esposito coached MLP players Mike Caldwell, Dan Plesac and others at N.C. State, along Mike Dempsey and Larry Dempsey from Greensboro Grimsley High School…Pretty sure both Plesac and Caldwell pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers…On further review, Caldwell started out with the San Diego Padres, but he had his best season in the majors, going (22-9) for the Brewers in 1978…

Esposito was the assistant coach for David Thompson, Tommy Burleson, Mo Rivers, Phil Spence, Mark Moeller, Van Williford, Steve Neuce, Rick Holdt, Eddie Leftwich and many other N.C. State basketball players…

From Wolfpack Sports Past, N.C. State has lost a good one here…Sam/Sammy/Samuel Esposito gone at age 86….

CLICK ON this video from the News and Observer in Raleigh…Lots of good info on Coach Esposito here…

The Sam Esposito story from Wikipedia, at www.wikipedia.com….

Samuel Esposito (born December 15, 1931) is an American former professional baseball third baseman and shortstop. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 10 seasons on the Chicago White Sox (1952, 1955–1963) and Kansas City Athletics (1963). In 1959, he helped the White Sox win the American League pennant. He was the head baseball coach at North Carolina State University from 1967 to 1987.

He graduated from Chicago’s Christian Fenger High School and attended Indiana University.

Esposito threw and batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and weighed 165 pounds (75 kg).

In ten MLB seasons, he played in 560 games and had 792 at bats, 130 runs, 164 hits, 27 doubles, 2 triples, 8 home runs, 73 RBI, 7 stolen bases, 145 walks, a .207 batting average, .330 on-base percentage, .277 slugging percentage, 219 total bases, 21 sacrifice hits, 8 sacrifice flies and 4 intentional walks.

Esposito replaced starting third baseman Billy Goodman and batted twice in Game 1 of the 1959 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 0-for-2.

from Twitter:
Scott Davis:Head Coach Wesleyan Christian Academy
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Sam Esposito was a leader of men and he taught my teammates and I to play the game hard and play the game with respect. Much of who I am as a coach is reflective of his teachings and philosophies….R.I.P. Coach Esposito. @NCStateBaseball @RayTannerSC @Elliott_Avent

This coming in from WRALSportsFan.com:
*****NC State released the following reflections from former players and colleagues.*****

BOB GUZZO
Legendary former NC State Wrestling Coach
“I’m very saddened to hear of Sam’s passing. I was his officemate and I thought an awful lot of him. He helped me a great deal when I first got here and I’m heartbroken.”

DOUG STRANGE (1983-85)
Long-time Major League Baseball Player, In his eighth year as director of player personnel for the Pittsburgh Pirates
“I’m saddened to hear about the loss of Coach Esposito. I have so many memories about him and our teams. Some are funny, some are eye-opening and most all are very meaningful. I would not be where I am today without Coach Esposito recruiting me to come to NC State. I won’t forget the impact he had on me personally, so it’s a sad day.”

DAN PLESAC(1981-83)
Three-time MLB All-Star Pitcher, Broadcaster with MLB Network since 2009
“Sam Esposito was the most influential coach in my baseball career. Leader of men, knew when to slap you on the back and also when to give you an earful. He was passionate about doing things the right way. I can still hear him saying, “Geez, Danny, just throw strikes.”

TIM STODDARD (1972-75)
Current assistant coach at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, after 22 years at Northwestern University, one of two people in the history of American sports to win an NCAA basketball championship (1974) and a World Series championship (1983 with the Baltimore Orioles)
“Coach Esposito was the most influential man in both my basketball and (most especially) my baseball career. He really helped keep me focused on the now in sports and the things that you can control, not the thing that you had no control over. He made sure that I was getting baseball in during that season and basketball in during that season, not cheating one to get a step ahead of the other. I give him the credit for me accomplishing the things in baseball that I was fortunate enough to achieve.”

MONTE TOWE (1972-75)
Member of the 1974 men’s basketball National Championship Team, NC State assistant coach from 1978-80, 2006-10
“He was a tremendous friend, a tremendous coach and a tremendous person and we will all miss him. All of us that had the good fortune of playing for him or being around him are blessed because of that.”

TRACY WOODSON (1982-84)
Head Baseball Coach at the University of Richmond, Member of the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers World Series Championship team
“I feel that everything I earned in my baseball career I owe a part of that to Coach Esposito. He handed out a lot of tough love but what I learned in my three years at State will never be forgotten. Our one-on-one conversations I have never taken for granted.”

MIKE CALDWELL (1968-71)
Freshman star of the 1968 CWS team and 1970 ACC Player of the Year, Long-time MLB pitcher who finished second in 1978 Cy Young Award race to NYY’s Ron Guidry
“Sam came in and showed the team how to approach the game like a professional. He kept the workouts simple and we played the game without a lot of trick plays. His game plan was 1, Catch the ball, 2, throw the ball, 3, hit the ball. He was simply a ‘no nonsense’ guy that had a great athletic life and was willing to share some of it with his players. He will be missed by all that played for him.”

BRIAN BARK (1987-90)
Former MLB Pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, Four-time All-ACC Selection
“It was truly and honor to play for Coach Esposito and represent the NC State baseball program, which he invested so much of his life to,” said Brian Bark. “He knew the perfect balance between tough love and encouragement to get the most out of all his players.”


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