St. Clair College baseball coach steps down

(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

One of Canada’s most successful college baseball coaches is hanging up his cleats.

St. Clair College head baseball coach and manager Dave Cooper will step down as the skipper of the varsity team. Assistant coach Roberto Duncan has been promoted to Cooper’s post.

Cooper will stay on the baseball coaching staff in an advisory position. He will also continue as manager of the St. Clair Green Giants, the only Canadian-based franchise of the Major League Baseball-sanctioned Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League (GLSCL).

St. Clair College Vice-President Ron Seguin said Cooper’s baseball expertise is second to none.

“We cannot thank Dave enough for his nine years of incredible success with the Saints.  He made it possible for the Saints to be regarded as Canada’s best collegiate baseball program,” said Seguin in a statement. “Dave is an incredible baseball mind. No one is better when it comes to game strategy and his work ethic is unmatched. We are thrilled Dave will continue to be involved in the college’s baseball program and be a mentor to an impressive group of his alumni as they carry the St. Clair baseball tradition forward.”

Over his tenure as manager and head coach of the Saints, Cooper compiled a 124-22 regular-season record, plus a 46-11 record in playoff play. Under Cooper, Saints baseball teams won two national collegiate championships, in 2012 and 2017. He also skippered five straight Ontario College Athletic Association (OCAA) pennant winners and provincial champions from 2013 to 2017. Twenty-two of his players have been named League All-Stars.

Cooper has also won three OCAA Coach of the Year Awards, plus three St. Clair College Inter-Collegiate Coach of the Year Awards.

Duncan, a former Saints player, joined the coaching staff in 2017. He was also on the staff of the St. Clair Green Giants for two years. The native of Panama was a free-agent draftee of the Boston Red Sox, and had played in the Dominican Summer League as well as the Panamanian Professional League before joining the Saints. According to Duncan’s Facebook page, he is also employed as the college’s Latin American recruitment officer.

Other staff changes include the promotion of assistant coach Tristan Bouchat to associate head coach, and the retention of pitching coach Kyle Breitner and assistant coach Casey Boutette. The college has also named former Saints players Eric Cunningham, Kevin Dion, and Mitchell Prsa to the coaching staff.