Cheff to be inducted into National College Baseball Hall of Fame
LEWISTON, Idaho - Former Lewis-Clark State College baseball coach Ed Cheff will be inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, officials from the Hall of Fame announced on Friday.
Cheff, who retired in 2010 after 34 seasons with the Warriors, was one of seven individuals named to the 2012 class. He is joined by a number of college baseball greats including former major leaguers Nomar Garciaparra, Lou Brock, and Brad Wilkerson.
The 2012 class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the College Baseball Night of Champions celebration on June 29-30 in Lubbock, Texas.
"This is an outstanding class and we are excited to welcome them to Lubbock and the College Baseball Hall of Fame festivities this summer," said Mike Gustafson, executive director of the College Baseball Hall of Fame. "They join the ranks of some exceptional college baseball players and we are thrilled to call them Hall of Famers."
Cheff led the Warriors to an unprecedented 16 NAIA World Series titles and is the NAIA's all-time leader in victories at one school. He posted a 1,705-430-2 record with LCSC for a .799 winning percentage. His win total ranks second only to Wichita State’s Gene Stephenson’s 1,763 wins for most victories with the same program in all of college baseball.
"There are a lot of things at Lewis-Clark State College that are real conducive to being successful," Cheff said in response to Friday's induction announcement. "I was able to work with a lot of good people in administration, we had some outstanding guys for assistant coaches, and then the real bottom line is we had some great players. I know it’s an old adage, but great players create great coaches and we had our share of great players no doubt."
Also included in the 2012 HOF class are Tim Jorgensen, star shortstop at Wisconsin-Oshkosh from 1992-95; the late Frank Sancet, who coached the Arizona Wildcats from 1950-72; and Wayne Graham, who was named Collegiate Baseball Magazine’s Junior College Coach of the Century for his time at San Jacinto College and led Rice to a national championship in 2003.
Before finding success in the big leagues, Garciaparra was a standout shortstop at Georgia Tech from 1992-1994, Brock was a star outfielder at Southern University from 1958-1960, and Wilkerson was a multi-talented player at Florida from 1996-1998.
"It’s obviously an honor to be associated with, in any way, that class of guys going in," said Cheff.
Under Cheff's leadership, the Warriors captured 16 NAIA national titles during a 25-year span, won at least 40 games for 30 straight seasons, and produced 114 players who were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including 14 who have made it to the big leagues thus far.
During Cheff's tenure, LCSC played in 11 consecutive NAIA World Series championship games and won eight. To put this in perspective, no other program has won more than four NAIA Series titles in its 55-year history. The Warriors went to the Series 28 times under Cheff and finished fourth or higher 25 times.
Cheff also has been inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame, the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Warrior Athletic Hall of Fame, and has been selected the winner of the ABCA’s Lefty Gomez Award for his lifetime contributions to amateur baseball. He was named the NAIA Coach of the Year eight times.
Cheff's teams also produced 72 NAIA All-Americans and three NAIA Players of the Year.
Under Cheff, LCSC lost more than 20 games only once in a season and during his final seven seasons his teams averaged 50 wins and only 8.6 losses.
During his time at LCSC, Cheff also was on the coaching staff for Team USA in 1991 and again in 1994 when he served as hitting and third-base coach at the World Championships. He also spent seven summers coaching baseball in the Alaska Collegiate League, which features college baseball players from across the United States.
Cheff, who was raised in Butte, came to LCSC after a successful coaching career at Lower Columbia Community College in Longview, Wash. He replaced Ramon Hooker at LCSC following the 1976 season when the Warriors made their first appearance in the NAIA World Series and finished second to Lewis College in Illinois.