Written by Greg Walker
The late Dale Ramsburg, WVU's baseball coach from 1968-94, is the winningest coach in any sport in the history of West Virginia athletics. "The Rammer" collected 540 wins against 387 losses and nine ties in his 26 years at the helm of the Mountaineer hardball program. A two-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year (1988, 1990), Ramsburg led the Mountaineers to the NCAA tournament four times, including 1994 when WVU posted a school-record 40 wins against 21 losses. Ramsburg's team also advanced to postseason play in 1982, 1985 and 1987.
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He was named Eastern coach of the year by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 1994, and was named to the prestigious seven-man NCAA Baseball Committee in 1993.
Twenty-seven of his players were selected in the Major League draft, including first-round choices Rick Oliver in 1971 and Joe Honce in 1973. In all, 31 of "Slick" Ramsburg's players played professional ball, including major leaguers Buck Guth, Darrell Whitmore, Joe Hudson and Steve Kline. Three of his players earned academic all-region or All-America honors, including Mark Landers in 1994.
Ramsburg was WVU's starting shortstop in 1963-64 and batted .290 with six home runs, six triples, 11 doubles and 42 RBI to lead the Mountaineers to a 54-8 two-year record and two Southern Conference championships and two NCAA Tournament berths. The 1964 team captain, who played for another WVU Sports Hall of Famer -- Steve Harrick, was a second team all-Southern Conference pick his senior season.
After a brief stint in the Minnesota Twins minor league system, Ramsburg returned to WVU as an assistant coach in 1967 and became head coach at age 26 in 1968. He guided the Mountaineers to a 9-8 record that first season and saw steady improvement through the years. His teams won at least 20 games in a season 16 times, including his last 13 straight. Ramsburg, who earned a master's degree from WVU in 1968 and a doctorate in 1978, was one of the college's most popular educators as well. He served as an assistant professor in the WVU School of Physical Education, where he was an undergraduate advisor and on numerous school committees.
In 1992, Ramsburg received a distinguished service award from the WVU athletic department. The Frederick, Md., native is a member of the Potomac State College and Frederick County Sports Halls of Fame. Ramsburg was born October 21, 1948, at Frederick, Md., and is a graduate of Frederick High School. The beloved coach and father passed away November 3, 1994, in Morgantown after a battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Carol, his daughter Ann and his son Irvin Dale Jr.