The only baseball coach Bentley University has ever known, Bob DeFelice became just the second athletics director in the university’s history when he was promoted in October 1991. The 2019-20 academic year is his 29th as director of athletics and incredibly, his 52nd as baseball coach.
DeFelice’s affiliation with the college dates back to 1968 when he was hired as Bentley’s first varsity baseball coach. After coaching the team on a part-time basis from its inception in 1969 to 1987, he was named Assistant Athletics Director for Programs in August 1987. Two years later, he was promoted to Associate Athletics Director.
Bentley athletic teams and athletic facilities have all prospered under his direction. Since he became AD, Falcon athletic teams have captured 116 conference championships (regular season and playoff) and made NCAA appearances in ten team sports (football, women’s basketball, men’s basketball, field hockey, volleyball, golf, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s cross country and women's cross country). There have been two national championships, field hockey in 2001 and women's basketball in 2014.
Under his leadership, Bentley has captured the Northeast-10 Presidents Cup eight times, emblematic of the best overall athletic program in the conference. The most recent came for the 2008-09 academic year.
Since 2000, under DeFelice’s watch, the college has expanded its athletic facilities with the addition of a soccer field, outdoor track, six tennis courts and perhaps the finest college baseball facility in New England, which was named in honor of DeFelice. He also oversaw the 2006 renovation of the Dana Center, including the construction of a new fitness center, food court and boosters suite, and was recently involved in the building of a sparkling multi-purpose arena that is now the home of the university's Division I hockey team.
On June 2, 2018, upon the culmination of his 50th year at Bentley, a statue was erected outside the Bentley Arena. In addition, the rink in the Arena now bears his name, as does the plaza outside the Arena.
DeFelice, the longest tenured active college baseball coach in the nation, finished the 2018 season with 809 career victories.
In 2001, the Falcons set an NCAA Division II record and led all of college baseball by hitting 2.39 home runs a game, knocking an incredible 98 balls out of the park in 41 games.
DeFelice, a 1963 graduate of Boston College with a Bachelor of Science degree in history, began his coaching career that same year as head football coach and assistant basketball coach at Christopher Columbus High School, a position he held for three years. In 1965, he began a three-year playing career in the Boston Red Sox minor league organization. In 1967, he was a player-coach with the Pittsfield Red Sox.
Before joining the Bentley athletic department staff on a full-time basis in 1987, DeFelice spent 17 years (1970-86) as head football coach at his alma mater, Winthrop High School. During that time, he led the Vikings to a 101-65-2 record, with four Northeast Conference championships, a 33-game winning streak in the early 80’s and two Eastern Massachusetts Division II Super Bowl titles.
Amazingly, DeFelice has been inducted into eight Halls of Fame. He was honored by Boston College in 1986, Bentley in October 1999, and was a charter member of the Winthrop High Hall of Fame in 1997. In November 2002, he was one of four inductees into the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Most recently, in November 2010, he was a charter inductee into the Intercity League Hall of fame.
DeFelice has also been inducted into the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches, the Boston Park League and the Union Printers International Baseball League halls of fame.
DeFelice helped establish the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference and was a founder of the Eastern Football Conference. He served as the EFC commissioner from 1997-2000, when it was absorbed by the Northeast-10 Conference.
Among the many honors he has received are the Murray Lewis Award from the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Football Officials and the Whitey Allard and Marty McDonough Memorial Sportsmanship Award from the College Baseball Umpires Association of New England. In May 2004, he received the Jack Butterfield Award from the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association for his contributions to college baseball. In December 2017, he received the George C. Carens Award from the New England Football Writers for his lifelong contributions to football.
DeFelice and his wife, Patricia, have four children and seven grandchildren.