Delaware's Hannah Still Game Despite Retiring From Dugout

Posted: June 15, 2000

As most people approach retirement age, they make plans to keep themselves busy.

Not Bob Hannah.

Asked to list his hobbies, the retiring University of Delaware baseball coach said, "None of the above. My thing is people. I need to move around and talk to people."

Hannah, 67, hasn't cleaned out his office.

"You don't displace 40 years of debris overnight," he said.

Hannah (1,053-464-6 in 36 seasons) led Delaware to 23 conference regular-season titles, 12 conference tournament championships and 12 NCAA Tournament appearances. The Blue Hens made their only College World Series trip in 1970 under Hannah's direction.

Hannah, a native of Trenton, N.J., says he's proudest of "the overall development of the program. We're not in the elite group [of college baseball teams], but people know who we are. We keep showing up [nationally]."

Two Philadelphia-area players, shortstop Kris Dufner and outfielder Vince Vukovich, helped the Blue Hens (37-20) reach the NCAA Tournament.

Duffner (Father Judge High) batted .311 with eight doubles, six triples, five home runs and 36 RBI.

"Starting about midseason, his game picked up," Hannah said. "His consistency went up and he played pretty well. We think he's going to be a pretty good player."

Vukovich (Eastern High, Voorhees, N.J.) batted .335 with 11 doubles, two homers and 34 RBI. Vukovich's father is Phillies coach John Vukovich.

In the America East Conference tournament opener, Vukovich homered in the 12th inning at Wilmington's Frawley Stadium to give the Hens a 4-3 victory over Northeastern.

Hannah is confident his successor, Jim Sherman, will continue Delaware's winning tradition. Sherman, a former UD player and Houston Astros farmhand, has been Hannah's assistant the past six seasons.

Hannah hopes to stay involved in baseball in some capacity.

GLOVE IS ALL YOU NEED

A trip to Poland last year alerted Bill and Ed Piszek to the need for baseball equipment for children in Europe.

The Piszeks visited Kutno, 90 miles west of Warsaw. Kutno is the European headquarters for Little League Baseball. The Piszeks learned that the high cost and lack of distribution of gloves is preventing many youngsters from playing baseball.

Subsequently, the Pizeks launched the "Pitch in a Glove for Little League" program. Their goal is to collect thousands of used and new baseball gloves for Little Leaguers in Europe.

The Fort Washington-based Copernicus Society of America, of which Bill is vice president, is teaming up with Little League Baseball and Rotary Clubs in the area to collect the gloves. Contact the Piszeks' Liberty Bell Foundation at 215-646-4491.

Ed Piszek, 83, founded Mrs. Paul's Kitchens in 1946.

TOP ST. JOE'S SENIORS

Christina Kowalski and Leonardo Barbosa were honored at the St. Joseph's University undergraduate award ceremony as the Hawks' top female and male senior athletes.

Kowalski set more than 25 St. Joe's softball records, including career hits (253), home runs (34) RBI (173), pitching wins (63), shutouts (25) and strikeouts (372).

This season, she led the Atlantic 10 Conference in hitting (.432) and RBI (46). As a pitcher, she compiled a 17-6 record and 1.74 ERA.

The Horseheads, N.Y., native became the first St. Joe's pitcher to toss a perfect game, a 3-0 decision over Rhode Island.

Barbosa, from Brazil, won 35 matches playing at No. 1 singles in four years. The two-year team captain is the only St. Joe's tennis player to be named All-Atlantic 10.

FILE AN ALL-STAR

Bob File, from Father Judge High and Philadelphia University, has been named to the Southern League all-star team. File will play in the Double A all-star game Tuesday in Greenville, S.C.

Pitching for the Tennessee Smokies, a Toronto farm team, File tied for third in the league with 15 saves. He has a 1-1 record and 3.26 ERA in 22 appearances.

WAY TO ROW

Central High graduate Judith Hogan, a coxswain for Clark University, in Worcester, Mass., was chosen for the New England Women's and Men's Championship all-conference novice rowing team.

SIGN-UPS COMING

Early registration for the National Junior Tennis League will be held Tuesday through Thursday, June 20 to 22, 5 to 7 p.m. at city recreation centers.

Children ages 8 to 18, at all skill levels, are eligible to participate. Call 215-487-9555 for details.

Send e-mail to fleiscb@phillynews.com

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