ALBANY — Schenectady native Bob Godlewski has returned to the Capital Region, and he's looking for student-athletes to fill out the roster for Bryant & Stratton College's first baseball team that will begin play this fall.
The longtime coach has searched for talent before, but never with a built-in recruiting tool that the Albany-based college provides.
"That's one of the things that excited me about this position," said Godlewski, a 1971 Mont Pleasant graduate who later played for Ithaca College. "Their mission is to get kids jobs when they graduate. Their placement is 87 percent in a major, where the national average is much lower."
Godlewski has been pushing those stats as he looks to build a roster between 32 and 35 players. His own resume that includes 439 wins as a head coach at small-school and junior college levels, and numerous national, regional and league championships, is another draw.
Godlewski is coming off a four-year stint at College of St. Joseph (Rutland, Vt.) where his team twice won United States Collegiate Athletic Association Small College World Series titles, taking the top spot in 2016 and 2017. Godlewski brought that program back to life after it was dormant for nearly a decade.
"I've built programs before," said Godlewski, the 2016 USCAA National Coach of the Year. "We'll have success. It may take a few years."
Godlewski said he has been on the recruiting trail for the last seven weeks, and driven 9,600 miles to places such as New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine and New York City looking for recent high school graduates and junior college transfers to wear the Bobcats' uniform.
"The school is about preparing students for the work world," Godlewski said. "In my 20-plus years in higher education, one downside I've seen is kids getting out of college and not finding a job. They [Bryant & Stratton] are big about academics and preparing for what's ahead. I'm using that."
Godlewski said he will be stressing academics on his players. His St. Joseph teams had a combined four-year grade-point average of 3.20.
"That's something I am proud of," Godlewski said. "My staff and I work hard with our players making certain their priority is student first, athlete second."
As an institution with USCAA Division I affiliation, Bryant & Stratton can offer scholarships to baseball players.
"We can reduce the cost of college," Godlewski said.
Recent Bethlehem graduate Nick Mosier is the only Section II player who has committed to Godlewski's team thus far, though about 10 others are on his radar. His roster is about half filled.
Godlewski said negotiations are underway to use the Central Park 'A' Diamond as Bryant & Stratton's home field, and that its schedule has 38 games in place with a dozen or so more to be added.
"I'm really excited about this," said Godlewski, who will work with assistants Joe Borowski, Ben Brown and Willie Osterhoudt.
Godlewski has 17 years of head coaching experience at St. Joseph, SUNY Adirondack and Columbia-Greene Community College (where he was twice named the NJCAA Rawlings Coach of the Year), and was also an assistant at Castleton University for seven years and at The College of Saint Rose for one year. He also led the Schenectady Blue Jays for two decades and won a pair of Continental Amateur Baseball Association national titles with them.
Additionally, Godlewski spent seven years as a scout for the Tampa Bay Rays.
For information about the Bryant & Stratton baseball program contact Godlewski at 518 437-1802 ext. 204.