CHICAGO – After spending the last 21 seasons as the head coach of the Saint Xavier University baseball program, Mike Dooley recently announced that the upcoming 2014 season will be his final one in a Cougar uniform. The SXU Athletics Department also made the decision to hire current assistant coach Rocco Mossuto as Dooley's successor with the change expected to take effect on July 1, 2014. Mossuto will become just the fourth head coach in the 42-year history of the program joining current SXU Hall of Famers John Boles (1973-79) and John Morrey (1980-92) as well as Dooley (1993-present).
"After 42 years as an educator and 33 years with the Saint Xavier University baseball program, including the last 21 years as the head coach, I felt that at the end of the school year and baseball season was the right time to step aside," said Dooley. "I would like to thank the Sisters of Mercy and Saint Xavier University for giving me the opportunity to fulfill all my personal dreams and professional ambitions. I have formed many special relationships with my players and that is the thing I will miss the most about coaching. I would also like to thank my wife, Barbara, and all of the guys who have coached with me over the years, especially John Morrey, Tony D'Anza, John "Happy" Harasen and Tom Lyons."
Under his direction, the Cougars amassed an overall record of 785-472-3 (.624 win percentage) since 1993. The program also won nine Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) titles, four regional titles and a NAIA World Series berth (2006). In addition to his coaching duties, Dooley is also an instructor in the physical education department at SXU and serves as an assistant athletics director. On February 1, 2014, he will be inducted into the Saint Xavier University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Mossuto has a rich history with the Cougars' baseball program having played for SXU from 1999-2002 and as an assistant coach since 2010. He has also had coaching stints for a number of other Chicago area institutions over the past decade serving as pitching coach for Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) from 2008-10 and for Dominican University (Ill.) from 2006-08. Mossuto also played one season (2004) overseas for the Lodi Old Rags Baseball Club out of the Italy Professional Baseball League. During his playing career as a pitcher at Saint Xavier, he was a two-time All-CCAC selection (2000, 2002) as well as a NAIA All-American Honorable Mention in 2002.
"This is a dream come true for me, said Mossuto. "As a former player here and a life-long baseball guy, this was a career opportunity that I've desired for a long time. Saint Xavier University has such a rich baseball history and I'm very humbled to continue its tradition of success. I love everything about this University, especially the players and coaches I have worked with over my career here. Cougar Baseball has a special place in my heart and I want to share that feeling with future generations of players and continue to build on the successes that this program has achieved."