BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) -- The 2019 season will be the final one for veteran Bridgewater College baseball coach Curt Kendall.
Coach Kendall announced to his team Saturday evening his decision to step down as head coach of the program at the end of the 2019 season to focus on his role as the College's Director of Athletics, a position he has held since 2000.
Now in his 34th season as the head coach of the Eagles, Kendall entered the 2019 season with a record of 775 wins, 505 losses and 10 ties. He entered the season ranked No. 23 in career victories in Division III. He ranks No. 12 in career wins among active coaches.
Kendall built the Bridgewater baseball program into a conference power, winning 12 tournament titles and 13 regular season championships. He has been named the ODAC Coach of the Year six times.
A 1981 Bridgewater graduate, Kendall joined the baseball coaching staff as an assistant following his playing career. He was named the head coach of the program in 1986 and, in his first season, led the team to a program record 23 wins and the ODAC regular season and tournament titles.
The 1988 season saw the Bridgewater program reach even greater heights. The Eagles once again broke the school record for victories in a season, going 25-8 while capturing the ODAC regular season and championship titles. Bridgewater was ranked as high as No. 16 in the country and Kendall was named the College Division Coach of the Year in the state of Virginia. The following season, the Eagles compiled a 21-9 mark and added yet another ODAC regular season crown. The 1989 team finished the season ranked 18th in the country.
The program took another step forward in 1994 when the Eagles tied a school record for victories with a 25-11 record. The Eagles earned their sixth ODAC championship and the fourth during Kendall's tenure. The Eagles were rewarded with an invitation to the NCAA Division III South Regional Tournament, the first in the school's impressive baseball history.
Kendall's team continued the success story in 1995 as the Eagles finished with a 25-10 record and the ODAC regular season title and tournament championship. That team made its second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
The following year, Kendall directed the 1996 team to a school-record 27 wins and a 16-0 ODAC mark. The team set an ODAC record for conference wins and became only the second team in school history to go through conference play with a perfect record. Bridgewater proceeded to win all three of its ODAC Tournament games to earn Kendall an unprecedented sixth tournament title.
The Eagles made their third trip to the NCAAs under Kendall during the 1999 season, finishing with a 26-19 overall mark and an 11-5 ODAC record. BC defeated Washington and Lee to win the conference tournament and then won its first-ever NCAA tournament game, defeating Methodist, 16-6.
In 2000, the Eagles established a new school record for victories by finishing the season with a 28-14 record. Kendall was named the ODAC Coach of the Year in 2001 as the team posted a 26-16 record and tied for first in the ODAC regular season standings with a 13-3 mark. The Eagles won the 2001 ODAC tournament to earn another spot in the NCAA Tournament field.
In 2002, the Eagles claimed the ODAC regular season crown with a 13-2-1 record and then won the tournament title to earn another trip to the NCAA tournament. The Eagles lost to eventual regional champion Christopher Newport in the first round of regional play and were eliminated by Methodist, a team that had been ranked No. 1 in the nation in the Division III baseball poll for most of the 2002 season. Kendall was once again named ODAC Coach of the Year.
In 2006, the Eagles reached the 30-win plateau for the first time in college history, finishing with a 32-14-1 record. The Eagles finished first in the ODAC regular season race and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. In 2007 the Eagles won the ODAC tournament, earning another trip to NCAA regional play.
Kendall guided the 2010 team to the ODAC championship. The Eagles made their eighth trip to the NCAA Division III tournament where they were eliminated in two straight games. Bridgewater finished the 2010 season with a 23-20-1 record.
During the 2011 season, the Eagles claimed the top seed for the ODAC tournament with a 15-3 ODAC record. Bridgewater lost in the tournament title game to Randolph-Macon and finished the year with a 26-18 overall record as Kendall earned his fifth ODAC Coach of the Year Award.
During the 2012 season, Kendall hit the 600-win milestone when the Eagles defeated Mary Washington 3-0 on Feb. 22, 2012. Later in the season on Mar. 28 Bridgewater defeated Washington and Lee for Kendall's 613th win. The victory put the BC coach No. 1 all-time among Virginia's Division III coaches, surpassing the 612 wins accumulated by Ferrum's Abe Naff. The 2012 team became just the second team in program history to reach the 30-win mark during a season as the team finished with a 31-14 record. Bridgewater reached the championship round of the ODAC tournament where the Eagles lost to Lynchburg College.
In 2013, the Eagles set a program record for conference wins in a season when the team finished with a 19-1 mark. The Eagles earned an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament, the program's ninth appearance in the national tournament. Bridgewater went 1-2 during regional play to finish the season with a 34-13 record.
Kendall led the Eagles to one of the best seasons in Bridgewater history during 2014 when the team set a new program record for wins during a season with 36, breaking the mark of 34 set the previous season. Bridgewater won the ODAC Championship and advanced to the title game at the NCAA regional tournament where the Eagles lost to Emory University. Kendall was named State Coach of the Year in voting by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID). Bridgewater was ranked No. 19 in the final D3baseball.com poll of the season and No. 23 in the Collegiate Baseball/ABCA poll.
During his tenure, Kendall has coached 60 All-ODAC first-team picks, eight ODAC Player of the Year winners, four ODAC Rookie of the Year recipients and one ODAC Pitcher of the Year honoree.