John Stuper coached his final game for Yale baseball over the weekend. The former Major League pitcher and World Series champion is retiring after 30 years of leading the Bulldogs’ baseball program.
He is the winningest head coach in the program’s storied history.
“It’s overwhelming, you’re going to make me cry,” said Stuper when asked about the incredible turnout from his former players who came back to campus for his retirement ceremony.
“The love that these guys are showing me, it’s been the honor of a lifetime,” said Stuper. “It’s been a 30-year privilege to coach these people.”
Dozens of former players from his three decades as head coach surrounded Stuper as he was honored in between games of Saturday’s doubleheader against Harvard.
“One, he’s a great baseball guy, but two, he’s been a great mentor for a lot of people, including me, and we’ve remained friends now for, I mean I got here in the late ’90s,” said Governor Ron DeSantis, who played baseball at Yale and graduated in 2001.
“You look around the infield, you realize how many people came and felt they wanted to celebrate and appreciate what “Stupe” has done for them; that’s the greatest testament you can give to someone is that you look at the lives that they’ve impacted,” said former major league pitcher Craig Breslow.
“A lot of these guys come out of here and they do really good things and I think Coach Stuper has a lot to do with that,” added DeSantis.
“As I’ve told them all, I don’t care how much money they made, what position they’re in, it’s that they are good husbands and good fathers and just good people,” said Stuper. “I love them all.”
Stuper spoke about how much Yale means to him and he received a few gifts, including a special hand-crafted baseball bat rocking chair to use during his retirement.
“I’m just grateful,” said Stuper. “I had a few chances to leave Yale, offers from pro teams or whatever, but then I looked in the locker room and thought ‘Do I want to leave them? Do I want to leave this?’ I talked to [former Yale football coach] Carm Cozza, one of the greatest men I’ve ever met and he told me the grass isn’t always greener and you don’t mess with happy.”