Armstrong Atlantic State Head Coach Joe Roberts became NCAA Division II’s all-time winningest head coach with a doubleheader sweep of UNC Pembroke, 13-8 and 6-4. Roberts has a record of 1,310-635 at Armstrong in 34 seasons.
He moved ahead of Valdosta State’s Tommy Thomas who accumulated a 1,308-825 record in 40 seasons.
A special ceremony to honor Roberts’ remarkable achievement was being planned at Armstrong Atlantic State as Collegiate Baseball went to press and was scheduled for April 28 prior to a series with Lander. All former Armstrong players were invited back to Savannah to join the university in honoring him.
Roberts has averaged close to 40 wins per year and posted 33 consecutive winning seasons. During his career, the Pirates have become a perennial contender in NCAA Division II baseball. Armstrong is third only to Florida Southern and Central Missouri in NCAA DII baseball victories since his arrival at then-Armstrong State in 1980. At one point, the Pirates were ranked in 110 straight polls over seven seasons.
The Pirates advanced to the NCAA DII World Series in 1988, 1989 and 1994, with their 1990 squad ranked No. 1 nationally in every week of the season.
Coach Roberts has been selected for a coach of the year award nine times, including Region coach of the year awards in all three seasons that the Pirates advanced to the NCAA DII World Series. The Pirates had players sign professionally in 29 straight years from 1982-2009, and Armstrong has also graduated 163 of its players in the last 28 years, despite its small rosters.
Roberts was a four-sport letterman at Lebanon (Ind.) HS before attending Lake Sumter CC in Leesburg, Fla. He finished his career at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C., where he was again a four sport letterman and a basketball standout, setting several school, league and NCAA records during a two year career that saw him named All-Conference twice.
He was selected Dixie MVP in his junior year of 1974 and was inducted into the St. Andrews Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. A member of the Georgia Dugout Hall of Fame and President of the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2010, Roberts was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame last January.
For many years, Roberts has also been chairman of the NCAA Division II poll selection committee. He has spent thousands of hours over the years spearheading the poll to make sure publicity about NCAA Division II baseball is spread across the USA.