For more than a half-century, since the program's inception in 1969, Bob DeFelice has been Bentley University baseball. The 2020 season will mark his 52nd at the helm of the Falcons.
In addition to coaching, DeFelice is the Director of Athletics at Bentley, a position he was named to in October 1991. He's just the second AD that Bentley has ever known.
His teams have called Robert DeFelice Field home since the 2002 season, and 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's affiliation with the university 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 debut 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.
As Bentley's only head baseball coach, DeFelice has won 809 games during his 51 seasons at the helm, a total that ranks third in New England Division II history. Following the retirement of Augie Garrido at Texas after the 2016 season, DeFelice is the longest tenured active college baseball coach in the country.
DeFelice's teams have finished in the top half of the Northeast-10 Conference 23 times in the last 38 years, and four of his players (Jim McCready, Derek Ghostlaw, Mike Hill, Rob Finneran) have been drafted by major league clubs since 1991. Another, Jack Baird, played in the New York Penn League in 2004.
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 over the fence in 41 games. In 2009, his club led Division II in fewest walks allowed, giving up only 1.93 per nine innings.
Since he became AD, the university's sports teams have prospered, with 116 conference championships (regular season and playoff) and 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.
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 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 Jack Butterfield Award from the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association, 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 December 2017, he received the George C. Carens Award from the New England Football Writers for his lifelong contributions to the sport of football.
DeFelice and his wife, Patricia, have four children and seven grandchildren.
The DeFelice Record