Joe Roberts: Armstrong State University

Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts retired in 2013 after guiding Armstrong State baseball for 34 seasons. He left as the all-time winningest head coach in NCAA Division II history with 1,309 victories.

In his final season, Roberts passed former Valdosta State coach Tommy Thomas to become the all-time winningest coach. Thomas is also a member of the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame. Roberts accumulated an overall record of 1,322-640, a .674 winning percentage.

During Roberts’ tenure, Armstrong State’s baseball program never had a losing season.

"My career as the baseball coach at Armstrong covered 34 seasons and there are many to thank for the success that we did achieve over those years," Roberts said. "Thanks to my wife Lynn, who raised a pair of wonderful sons often in my absence while I spent more time on calls, committees and recruiting. Thanks to Tommy Thomson and to Donald Anderson for always being there. Thanks to the ABCA for its books, convention speakers and coaches where a guy like me could get better."

During his Armstrong career, the Pirates ranked third only to Florida Southern and Central Missouri in NCAA Division II baseball victories after his arrival at Armstrong in 1980. Armstrong was ranked in 110 straight national polls over seven seasons and made three trips to the NCAA Division II World Series in 1988, 1989 and 1994. His 1990 squad was ranked No. 1 in the nation every week during the season.

Roberts earned nine Coach of the Year awards during his career, including Region Coach of the Year awards in 1988, 1989 and 1994. Armstrong had players sign professional contracts in a streak of 28 straight years from 1982-2009.

A former president of the American Baseball Coaches' Association (ABCA), Roberts was elected to the ABCA Hall of Fame in January of 2013.

A four-sport letterman at Lebanon High School in Indiana, Roberts attended Lake Sumter Community College in Leesburg, Fla. and finished his collegiate career at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, S.C. He was the Dixie Conference MVP as a junior in 1974 and later was inducted into the St. Andrews Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.

Roberts began coaching Armstrong baseball for the 1980 season and directed the Pirates to two Big South Conference Division championships in 1985 and 1987, then five consecutive No. 1 seedings in the NCAA Division II Baseball Championships from 1988-1992. 

As an inaugural member of the Peach Belt Conference, Roberts and the Pirates captured PBC regular season titles in 1992 and 1993, adding league regular season titles in 2003 and 2012 while also capturing PBC Tournament titles in 2007 and 2012.

Armstrong advanced to NCAA Championships 14 times from 1988-2013.

As a valued member of the ABCA, Roberts served as the national All-American committee chair from 1988-91 and 2005-12 while also serving as the national Collegiate Baseball Poll chairman from 1989 through this season. He also served on the NCAA Division II regional and national championship committees, was the ABCA's Division II President from 2000-05 and served as the ABCA Vice President from 2006-09 before his term as the organization's president in 2010.

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