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UMass Lowell's Stone to retire after season

By Used with permission from the Eagle Tribune Online.

LOWELL -- Jim Stone, one of the most successful New England college coaches of any sport, will step down as UMass Lowell's baseball coach after the 2003 season.

A longtime resident of Atkinson, N.H., Stone has compiled a 769-381-7 record, 19 postseason berths including 13 to the NCAA Tournament, and two straight Division 2 College World Series appearances in 36 seasons.

"Obviously, you don't just replace a coach like Jim Stone," said UMass Lowell athletic director Dana Skinner. "He will retire with more wins than any coach in Lowell's athletic history, and that says a great deal about not only his coaching talents, but his ability to motivate young people."

The veteran coach is still on top of his game. The River Hawks are ranked No. 7 in the country in a preseason poll.

Stone's coaching skills haven't been overlooked by his peers. He's been named New England Division 2 Coach of the Year nine times and NCAA Division 2 Northeast Region Coach of the Year five times.

Many of his players have moved on to the professional ranks, highlighted by Mike LaValliere, who enjoyed a successful 12-year major league catching career including winning the 1987 National League Gold Glove.

Stone's assistant for the last 19 years, Ken Connerty, will take over the head coaching duties after this season.