UTICA, N.Y. - Utica College Athletic Director David Fontaine named Joe Milazzo head baseball coach on Monday. Milazzo, a Whitesboro native, joins the Utica baseball staff as head coach after spending the last 33 years coaching at both the collegiate and high school levels.
"Joe has an excellent track record of coaching success in the Mohawk Valley and we feel his experience and wealth of baseball knowledge will translate well here at Utica College," says Fontaine, who took over as Director of Athletics at UC in January of 2012.Â "Joe has an innate ability to instill dignity, discipline and pride in student-athletes and we feel these are the pillars of a successful baseball program."
Born and raised in the Utica area, Milazzo has spent time as a head baseball coach at Notre Dame High School (1981-1989), Herkimer County Community College (1990) and Mohawk Valley Community College (1991-2002).Â From 2002-2010 he was the varsity baseball assistant coach at Notre Dame and he has spent the last two seasons at Mohawk Valley Community College as the head softball coach.
"It has always been a goal of mine to coach at a four-year school and this is a very good opportunity for me," said Milazzo. "I'm excited about working with the student-athletes at UC and I can't wait to get started."
During his 12 seasons as the Head Baseball Coach at MVCC he guided the Hawks to nine National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Tournament Appearances, six Region III Final Four appearances, four Mountain Valley Conference Championships, two NJCAA Division III World Series appearances, and two Region III Championships.Â He was also a three-time Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year selection and a two-time NJCAA Northeast Coach of the Year recipient.
In just one season at HCCC he led the Generals to the program's first NJCAA Tournament appearance after participating in the Region III Final Four.
During his first stint at Notre Dame he guided the Jugglers to Four Section III Championships, three New York State Final Four appearances, three Central Oneida League Championships and two Tri-Valley League Championships.Â After returning to Notre Dame in 2002, he helped lead the Jugglers baseball program to a New York State Class C Championship and a Section III Class B Championship in consecutive seasons.
"Coach Milazzo has been around the area and baseball for 30+ years.Â He has a great reputation of knowing the baseball community, not just locally, but his reach also expands throughout New York State and we're really excited to have him at Utica College, " said Fontaine. "We feel he brings a lot of experience, including coaching at the College level.Â He's a schoolteacher as well so he understands the nuances of today's student-athlete."
His other baseball experience includes 23 years (1990-present) as a partner, operator and instructor at the Hitting Machine.Â The Hitting Machine provides baseball and softball clinics, camps and private lessons to players of all ages.Â It is a year round indoor business located at the Field of Dreams Sports Complex in Fort Schuyler, NY.
He is also the co-director and instructor at the Hitting Machine Baseball Camp where he is responsible for every aspect of running the baseball camp.Â The responsibilities range from on-field instruction to developing brochures and marketing materials.Â This specific camp has been run at several different venues including: Utica College, Mohawk Valley Community College, Notre Dame High School and it is currently held at the Field of Dreams.
"I expect that it will be a seamless transition for Coach Milazzo," said Fontaine.Â "Our coaches will really embrace him as a part of the Utica College family and I see nothing but good things happening for not only Utica College athletics, but also our baseball program moving forward."
From 1994-2003 he was employed by the New York Penn Professional Baseball League as a League Administrator.Â The Penn League is a member of Minor League Professional Baseball Incorporated.Â During that time his duties included developing a 76 game schedule for the fourteen team league, assigning and supervising seven two man umpire crews and assisting in day to day operations of the league during the season.
He spent two weeks each Summer for seven years (1992-1998) as a director and instructor at the Grand Slam Baseball Academy in Montreal, Quebec, Canada where he guided the 16-18 year old division.
In 1987 he founded and directed a College and Professional recruiting showcase in the Utica area.Â For nine years he invited the best high school prospects to the showcase where they were instructed and evaluated by some of the top collegiate coaches and professional scouts in the country.Â The featured coaches and scouts included Dave Alexander (Purdue University), Pat Murphy (Arizona State University), Steve Owens (Bryant College), Jim Spartano (Utica College), Bill Thurston (Amherst College) and George Valesente (Ithaca College).
Milazzo graduated from nearby Thomas R. Proctor High School in 1976 before earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education from Cortland State in 1981.Â He went on to earn his Master's Degree in Special Education from The College of St. Rose in 1984.Â Â Â
He is currently a special education teacher at Whitesboro High School, where he has spent the last 28 years.Â He works in a resource room where he is responsible for teaching learning disabled high school students the strategies and skills that will help them to succeed in the high school setting.
His other work at the High School level includes three years as the Athletic Director at Notre Dame (1988-1990) where he was responsible for all aspects of the athletic department.Â His duties entailed developing a budget, hiring and supervising the coaching staff, game scheduling, facility scheduling, maintenance, transportation, and game management.
He began his high school teaching career as a special education instructor at Thomas R. Proctor (1982-1985) where he taught in a self-contained Adjustment III class.Â During that time he also taught physical education to college students as an adjunct professor at MVCC.
His professional certifications include New York State Physical Education Permanent Teaching Certification (K-12) as well as a New York State Special Education Permanent Teaching Certification (K-12).Â He is also an official for the Utica Board of Certified Soccer Officials (1981-present), the New York State Girls Basketball Officials Association (1982-present) and the Utica Board of Certified Softball Umpires (2009-present).
"We will need to spend some time with a philosophy that we have to get across to the student-athletes," said Milazzo of his first steps with the team after joining the Utica College coaching staff. "We have to discuss all of the things that we want the student-athletes to accomplish, how we want them to practice and the way we want to play the game, and if we can get them to believe in what we're doing then the winning will be a byproduct."
Milazzo currently resides in Whitesboro, NY with his wife Leslie and their daughter Francesca.