The John Scolinos Memorial Tournament @ UYA

John Scolinos.jpg

John Scolinos, who won three Division II national championships as Cal Poly Pomona’s baseball coach, died Saturday of age-related causes, a school official said. He was 91.

He died Saturday of age-related causes, a school official said.

Scolinos became head coach at Pomona in 1962 and turned the program into a powerhouse, winning Division II national championships in 1976, 1980 and 1983. He also won six California College Athletic Assn. championships and was named Division II coach of the year three times.

He also coached 14 seasons (1946-1960) at Pepperdine and retired in 1991 with a combined 1,198 victories. Scolinos was inducted into the American Assn. of Collegiate Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1974.

“Coach Scolinos left a legacy that probably will never be matched,” said Pomona Coach Mike Ashman, who also played for him.

Scolinos was born March 28, 1918, in Los Angeles and graduated from Manual Arts High in 1937, where he played football because the school didn’t have a baseball team.

He played semipro baseball during the summer and was signed by the St. Louis Browns, playing in the minor leagues before World War II started. He served in the Army Air Forces from 1942-1945.

“The war didn’t keep me out of the big leagues,” he told The Times in 1976. “I wasn’t consistent enough with the bat to have made it. I learned a lot about the game that helped me when I started coaching.”

Scolinos earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Pepperdine and a master’s in education from USC.

In 1984, Scolinos was pitching coach for the U.S. Olympic baseball team coached by USC baseball Coach Rod Dedeaux, a longtime friend and coaching adversary.

“The good thing about coaching in a college atmosphere, a good atmosphere like this, is that it’s constantly changing,” Scolinos told The Times in 1987. “The kids keep it interesting. Every season is like a new life cycle.”

He is survived by his wife, Helen, and daughter, Violet.

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