Legendary Eastern Connecticut State baseball coach Bill Holowaty has retired, a source told Hearst Connecticut Friday afternoon.
A 45 year veteran and the architect of Eastern’s nationally-acclaimed Division III baseball program, Holowaty was suspended earlier this week for throwing a helmet into the stands, alleged cursing, abusive language and failing to comply with school policies.
He informed his team of his retirement Friday, closing the book on a career that includes over 1,400 victories, four national championships and four national coach of the year awards.
The initial suspension, a source said, stemmed from four confirmed charges of misconduct and a fifth charge — allegations of abusive language — that was under investigation.
“I don’t know whether it’s because (the athletic department) wants someone new to come in or they want to change mentality of the program, but the AD has been kind of down our throats looking for something to be wrong,” the source said.
A complaint to the athletic director from an unnamed player was the “icing on the cake,” according to the source.
Following his suspension, there was an outcry of support from former players who insisted that Holowaty, 68, had done nothing but positive for his kids.
“I can’t stress enough how poorly I think the institution is handling it,” said former Eastern pitcher Sam Iverson. “As far as a man, obviously we didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but no one ever does with their coach. But when I walked away from (Eastern), everything he taught me, he was 100 percent correct. And I’ll use it for the rest of my life.”
Added former shortstop Tom Koch: “I didn’t suspect any wrongdoing at all by coach. Then I saw the suspension and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that it was happening, that he was being suspended for all those allegations, because I did not witness anything like that.”
Holowaty was reportedly suspended in 1994 and 1997. Both incidences involved alleged physical contact with players. Former players contacted for this story — all of whom played in the 2000s — did not recall any physical abuse.
When asked if Holowaty’s behavior was comparable to Mike Rice, the Rutgers coach who was recently fired for his physical and verbal abuse, Koch said it’s, “not even close…. not even the same conversation.”