A Field of Dreams Come True by Dave Smith

Virginia Tech baseball coach Chuck Hartman earned the highest recognition for a collegiate baseball coach when he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame during the association's annual convention this January in San Antonio.

"This is every college coach's dream," Hartman says. "To be selected for the national hall of fame and to be in there with so many great coaches from throughout the country is the highest recognition you can receive on the collegiate level. A lot of good things have happened to me and I feel truly honored." A 1957 graduate of the University of North Carolina, he is the second Virginia Tech baseball coach to be inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame. G.F. "Red" Laird, who coached baseball at Tech for 30 years, was inducted in 1971.

Hartman and Laird

Former baseball coach G.F. "Red" Laird (left)
and current coach Chuck Hartman.

Hartman's latest honor, which came just over a year after his November 2002 induction into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, was magnified by the fact that he is already a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of Fame. Hartman was inducted into the NAIA Hall in 1989 for his achievements at High Point College (now University), where he coached for 19 years before coming to Tech in 1979. Including his 1996 entry into the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame and his selection for the Gaston (N.C.) County Hall of Fame in 1979, Hartman is now a member of five halls of fame.

His many contributions to baseball have been widely recognized beyond the halls of fame. The Home Plate Club of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area has presented him a prestigious Lifetime Achievement in Baseball Award. Hartman has also received the Willie Duke Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Raleigh Hot Stove League. In 1984, Hartman was named to the coaching staff of the United States All-Star team that competed in the World Amateur Championships in Cuba. During the summer of 1985, he was in charge of the offense for the USA baseball team that toured Korea, Japan, and the United States and played in the Intercontinental Cup in Canada.

Now entering his 26th season at Virginia Tech and his 45th season overall, Hartman ranks third among active Division I baseball coaches with 1,372 career victories and stands fourth all-time with an overall coaching record of 1,372-728-8. His current record at Tech is 889-503-8. Hartman has guided the Hokies to championships in three conferences: the Metro, the Atlantic 10 and, most recently, the BIG EAST.

During his coaching career, Hartman has had four players selected in the first round of the Major League Amateur Draft, three of whom were not drafted out of high school. The Gastonia, N.C., native has had a total of 78 players sign with the pros, including 54 from Tech.

Dave Smith is director of sports information.