AURORA, N.Y. – Following an extensive national search, David Valesente has been hired as the first-ever Wells College baseball coach, Director of Athletics Michael Lindberg announced Monday. Valesente joins the Express from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa. where he served as an Assistant Coach for the Hawks’ NCAA Division I baseball program.
A native of Lansing, N.Y., Valesente is charged with overseeing all aspects of a brand-new varsity baseball program that was announced as the seventh men’s sport offering at Wells this past May. An existing member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference, Wells will compete against eight other programs within the league as early as 2016-17.
“It is with great pleasure that I introduce David Valesente as the first-ever Head Coach of baseball at Wells College,” remarked Lindberg. “In addition to exceptional qualifications, Coach Valesente brings an intense passion for the game of baseball with a unique understanding for the many lessons to be learned during play.
“Our student-athletes will benefit from his experience and ability to impact a student-athlete’s potential not only between the foul lines, but in both the classroom and their personal lives,” concluded Lindberg.
“I would like to personally thank [Provost] Dr. Cindy Speaker, [Director of Athletics] Michael Lindberg and the entire Wells community for providing this opportunity to lead the first-ever Wells College baseball program,” said Valesente. “I am indebted to Saint Joseph's University, and in particular, Head Coach Fritz Hamburg and his assistant coaches, who provided the opportunity to learn the management and coaching aspects of a successful baseball program.
“As the first coach of the Wells baseball program, I am excited to introduce a new group of prospective students to the beautiful campus. I look forward to getting the program started,” concluded Valesente.
Valesente served as an Assistant Coach for the Saint Joseph’s baseball team for the previous two seasons. Assisting with player development, game execution and student-athlete recruitment, Valesente and the Hawks have posted an impressive 56 victories across the past two years and were the Atlantic-10 Conference runners-up in 2014.
Working closely with the Hawks’ catchers, Valesente coached Deon Stafford during a freshman campaign that saw him earn A-10 All-Conference and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America merits. Following the 2014 campaign, catcher Brian O’Keefe was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft (225th overall).
Outside of the coaching world, Valesente also served as an Assistant Academic Advisor for Student-Athletes at Saint Joseph’s. He was responsible for assisting with the administration of academic and personal support services for student athletes while monitoring the academic progress of at-risk student-athletes and providing reports to head coaches and other athletic administration.
Prior to joining the staff at Saint Joseph’s, Valesente was an assistant coach at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa., working specifically with catchers, infielders and batters. He has also served as a baseball instructor and assistant coach at the All-Star Baseball Academy (Broomall, Pa.) and was an off-season volunteer assistant coach for Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y.
A 2010 graduate of Saint Joseph’s, Valesente was a four-year member of the baseball team under Hamburg and was selected as the Senior Male Athlete of the Year before graduating. A three-time Most Outstanding Player award recipient after earning Atlantic-10 Conference All-Rookie team placement in 2007, he finished his four-year career with a .323 batting average after starting 170 of the 179 games he played.
Ranking fifth all-time on the Saint Joseph’s career hit list with 216 to his credit, Valesente went on to sign an independent contract with the Alpine Cowboys in 2011, earning Pecos Professional Baseball League All-Star placement.
Signing as an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball in February 2012, Valesente also played professionally for the State College Spikes and the Jamestown Jammers within the New York Penn League in 2012 and 2013, respectively. He was one of only 40 players in Saint Joseph’s history to be drafted or sign with a professional baseball club.
A four-time Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll recipient as an undergraduate at Saint Joseph’s, Valesente earned a degree in Business Administration before earning his master’s degree in Sports Studies from the United States Sports Academy. Valesente is the son of George Valesente, the long-time Head Coach of Ithaca College and American Baseball Coaches Association Baseball Hall of Famer.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
"We are very excited for David and his opportunity to be the first head coach at Wells College. I want to personally thank David for the commitment he made to our program as both a student-athlete and as a member of our coaching staff at Saint Joseph's. David's organization, knowledge, and leadership style should move the Wells program forward in the most positive ways both on and off the field. We wish David and everyone at Wells the best of luck in this exciting new venture." – Fritz Hamburg, Head Baseball Coach, Saint Joseph’s University (Pa.)
Wells – Announced the hiring of David Valesente as the inaugural Head Coach of baseball. Valesente served as an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s (Pa.) since 2014.
Photo credit to Saint Joseph's Athletics/Sideline Photos, LLC/Mitchell Layton