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Ohio coach Joe Carbone has assumed the same dugout perch for each of his 24 years as the Bobcats’ head coach. Throughout those 24 years, he has left lasting impressions on many of his former players and colleagues. (via Pat Carbone)

Baseball: After 24 years of Bobcat baseball, a legend leaves an indelible mark

A coach is someone who wears more hats than just the one with his team’s logo on the front. 

As a leader, teammate, tutor, respected opponent or friend, retiring Ohio baseball coach Joe Carbone has meant something to just about everyone he’s crossed paths with during his career.

Friend and Mid-American Conference umpire Gene Klontz said his relationship with Carbone is built on mutual respect.

“He called me the other day and we talked for 15 minutes. He doesn’t realize all the people he’s touched or affected their lives,” Klontz said. “I have nothing but great things to say about Joe Carbone.”

Klontz said he and Carbone never let grudges from their different vantage points spill off  the field.

Carbone’s journey at Ohio started while playing for longtime Bobcat skipper Bob Wren, who led with an old-school style that emphasized fundamentals and a hands-on approach in the lives of his players.

Former teammate and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt said Carbone’s education degree might have laid the foundation for him to become a coach and leader.

Carbone was the captain on the 1970 College World Series team and an easy player for his teammates to support.

“He was someone we all respected. Just something about him, he held us together,” Schmidt said. “Maybe his unselfish nature, maybe his smile, his work ethic, all of it.”

Carbone went from being respected by his teammates to being respected by his players when he became an assistant coach 41 years ago. That respect has deepened during his 24 years as the Bobcats’ head coach.

Cory Keylor, who played for Carbone from 1999–2001 with associate head coach Andrew See, said Carbone helped him evolve from just an offensive threat to a more complete player and person.

“He made me mentally strong to be able handle situations on the field and in life,” Keylor said.

Carbone has gained the respect of his opposition as well. Former Western Michigan skipper Fred Decker, who is the only coach with more Mid-American Conference wins than Carbone, said he will always be fond of the way the friendship he and Carbone had.

“Our games have been competitive over the years,” Decker said. “I always appreciated the way he approaches the game. I think he coaches the game the way it should be coached. I’ve got nothing but high regard for Joe Carbone.”

Ohio freshman left fielder Tyler Wells talked about the connections he and his coach formed while traveling for road trips during the season.

“Coming in this year, you hear so many great things about him,” Wells said. “He’s a legend. Traveling around with him, everyone knows him. No one can say any bad things about him.”

Carbone finished his career with a 689-611-2 record and two MAC championships. His 689 wins give him the most wins among all Bobcat coaches in any sport. Other than leaving a coaching legacy behind, he will always be a friend to the program.

“I’ve said many a time, ‘This guy has been a mentor to me on and off the field, as a person and as a coach.’ He’s one of my best friends,” See said. “It’s tough. He’s someone I’ve looked up to on how to do things the right way.”

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