At the end of next season, Ohio’s longest-tenured coach will be a Bobcat no more.
Baseball coach Joe Carbone, who is in his 23rd year as coach, will retire at the end of this season but then rejoin the team for one more year in 2012.
Carbone filed paperwork May 9 agreeing to an early retirement settlement, according to documents obtained from the university. Upon his July 1 retirement, he will receive $25,000 and will be rehired to a single-season contract. Details of Carbone’s 2012 contract are not yet available. He currently makes $74,443 per year.
Carbone, who turned 63 Monday, said his decision was prompted by the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, which he said recently cut back on its benefits because of the economy.
“It’s best for me and my family that I retire at the end of next year,” Carbone said.
Carbone said he decided to coach in 2012 to honor commitments to recruits and their families as well as contracts with sporting goods companies. Including his time as an assistant coach at Marshall, Toledo and Ohio State, Carbone has been a college baseball coach for 42 years.
“I’m comfortable with the decision,” Carbone said. “It’s probably time for me to move on and give someone else a chance to coach Ohio University.”
Sophomore Seth Streich said the players were not aware of Carbone’s plans when news of his retirement broke yesterday afternoon. Carbone held a brief team meeting around 5:45 p.m. yesterday to explain his decision and apologize for not being the first to inform the players.
Streich said he felt relieved when Carbone told the team he would coach the Bobcats through next season.
“I can’t even put into words what coach Carbone has meant to me,” Streich said. “Every day I’m learning more from him. Not only as a baseball player but how to grow as an individual.”
Carbone played four years at Ohio and captained the 1970 team that made it to the College World Series.
With 659 wins, Carbone has won more games than any coach in Ohio’s history. He has won two Mid-American Conference titles and has twice been named MAC Coach of the Year.
Carbone has coached 42 Bobcats who went on to sign professional contracts. He’s also coached eight All-Americans, the most recent of which is Robert Maddox III, who was drafted in the 18th round by the Cincinnati Reds last year.
“It’s one of those things that you think kind of wouldn’t end,” Maddox said. “He’s been there for so long. He’s had a lot of great years. ... He’s had a great career and I loved playing for him.”
Carbone said he planned to take some time off before getting back into coaching, either in a college summer league or on a professional team.
Carbone didn’t intend to tell the players about his retirement until after the season so as to not cause a distraction during the season.