Veteran baseball coach to retire at end of season


Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.

Facts

Harry Tholen's career

  • Years: 36 as junior college baseball coach, 22 at SFCC.
  • Record: 791-545 overall, 546-425 at SFCC.
  • Honors: Ohio Coach of the Year in 1980, Florida Junior College Coach of the Year in 1985 and Mid-Florida Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1995. Inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1999.
  • Titles: SFCC won the State Junior College Baseball championship and finished third at the National Junior College Tournament in 1985. Mid-Florida Conference championship in 1992 and 1995.

  • Coaching baseball has been his life, his passion, for the past 36 years and saying goodbye is not going to be easy. But Harry Tholen says it is time.
    "I know I'm going to miss it," said Tholen, 62, the baseball coach at Santa Fe Community College since 1984 and an icon at the school. "But it's time. I really feel it's time to turn it over to someone younger with a lot more energy who can take the program forward. In my own mind, this is the right time."
    In his 22nd season at SFCC, Tholen informed his players before Tuesday's practice that he is retiring at the end of the season. He told school officials of his decision last week.
    "Harry not only brought his knowledge of the game to these kids over the years, he also taught them an integrity that is beyond reproach," SFCC athletic director Jim Keites said. "He's a leader in the state and in the nation. He's an icon here at Sante Fe Community College."
    Tholen said he still feels fine physically, but his energy level isn't where it once was and he wants to devote more time to his family - wife Susan, an English teacher at Buchholz High School, and grown sons Eric and Jeffrey.
    "I have a son who is 28 and one who is 31 and my wife and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary this August," Tholen said. "It's time I spend more quality time with them.
    "I'm physically healthy, but this job demands a lot of time and energy. When you get to be 63 (which Tholen will be in April), sometimes the mind is willing and the body isn't all the time. I've come to the realization it's time to explore other avenues and figure out what the next phase of my life is going to be."
    Tholen's record at SFCC is 546-425. His 1985 Saints team won the state junior college championship and finished third at the National Junior College Tournament. He led SFCC to Mid-Florida Conference championships in 1992 and 1995, with the '95 team finishing second in the state.
    Tholen was inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame on May 28, 1999. He served as the president of the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association from 1999 through 2005 and was a member of the American Baseball Association Board of directors from 2002 until 2005.
    His overall 36-year coaching record is 791-545 and includes 28 winning seasons.
    "I have many favorite moments (at SFCC)," he said. "The 1985 club that finished third in the national tournament. ... that was a special year with some special young men.
    "I have a lot of favorite players, but if you mention names you leave people out. I hate to do that. There have been many."
    Tholen said one of his proudest moments in coaching was when he was an assistant coach on a NJCAA all-star team that played in China in 1996.
    "It's very special thing to be able to represent your country," he said.
    Robbie Andreu can be reached at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com

    Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

    Comments are currently unavailable on this article

    ▲ Return to Top