Almost as rare as a perfect game, Shenendehowa varsity baseball will have a new skipper next year.
Jim Carrese stepped down as the varsity baseball coach effective today after 22 years at the helm of the Plainsmen, the information released to the media via press release.
“My retirement from the baseball program is simply about my desire to focus my attention on the greater priority in my life which is my family and my 10-year-old son’s travel baseball team,” Carrese said in the release. “After 22 seasons I believe the words ‘Shenendehowa Baseball’ have a tremendous significance in NYS and Section Two baseball.”
Since 1991 Carrese has posted a 349-163 (.682) overall record, including a 237-95 (.715) record in the Suburban Council. The Plainsmen captured Section II titles in 1994 and 1996 along with regional titles with the 1996 squad reaching the New York State Public High School Athletic Association finals.
With Carrese at the helm, Shenendehowa won 16 Suburban Council titles, qualified for the Section II playoffs 17 of 22 years (meeting a .500 league record requirement) and competed in five Section II finals.
Off the field, the 2011 Plainsmen squad earned the NYSPHSAA Scholar Athlete award as the top performing academic baseball squad.
“I am deeply indebted to all the families, players, athletic directors and coaches that I have had the opportunity to work with these past 34 years as a public high school coach,” Carrese said. “I am especially thankful for the dedication and tireless work ethic of the current Shenendehowa Baseball staff.”
Carrese is the fourth notable varsity coach to announce his retirement this year, following football coach Brent Steuerwald, soccer coach Mike Campisi and girls basketball coach Ken Strube. Steuerwald retired from his athletic director position in the late 1990’s and Strube retired as a math teacher last year and had discussed their retirement plans over the past several years. Campisi continues to teach in the Shenendehowa science department and will remain with the soccer program as an assistant coach to all levels.
The Carrese announcement was a surprise.
“He came to me to express his concerns about being torn between the responsibilities with his son’s team and the amount of effort he felt it took to run the Shen baseball programs,” Shenendehowa athletic director Chris Culnan said. “He decided to step away.
“This one was a surprise to me,” Culnan said. “I think if you know Jimmy (Carrese) you know that if he couldn’t give 100 percent to both, he would have to make a decision. The family won out.”
All three previous retirements led to extensive coaching searches, the football position the only one allowed outside interests and all three were filled by internal, teaching candidates.
“I think again we have a lot of strong internal candidates to fill the position,” Culnan said.
The search will begin immediately, according to Culnan.