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Head Coach Bill Thurston

Bill Thurston

Bill Thurston, head coach of the Amherst College baseball program since 1966 and the winningest coach in any sport in school history, has led the Jeffs to a staggering 648 wins (against just 374 losses, nine ties) over the last 36 seasons - nearly 70% of all contests played entering the 2002 season. His teams have posted 14 consecutive winning seasons and cracked the 20-win plateau 15 times, including a streak of four straight 20-win seasons from 1988 to 1991, and a string of four-out-of-five 20-win years from 1997 to 2001. Thurston is widely respected as a teacher of baseball skills and techniques as well as an outstanding game-coach and manager.

As the No. 1 pitcher and leading hitter as an outfielder at the University of Michigan, Thurston signed a professional contract with the Detroit Tiger organization after his junior year and played three seasons of professional baseball. He began his coaching career in Dearborn, Michigan before coming to Amherst in the fall of 1965. At Amherst, Thurston is a full-time, tenured professor of physical education.

Thurston has been named New England College Coach of the Year on four occasions: in 1974, 1980, 1984, and 1997. In 1982, he was the recipient of the prestigious Jack Butterfield Award for coaching excellence and contributions to the game. In July 1996, he was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, and in January 1997, he was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Also in 1997, Thurston received the Dr. James R. Andrews Award for his research and contributions in Sports Medicine.

During his 35-year tenure at Amherst, Thurston has been actively involved in coaching international baseball in Australia, Canada, China, Holland, Italy, Panama, and Romania. In 1984 and 1985, he was the head coach of the Australian National Team which competed in a number of international tournaments in the United States, Canada, and Europe as well as in Australia. In 1986, Thurston served as the pitching coach of the United States National Team which competed in the World Cup Games in Holland.

Additionally, Thurston served as the NCAA Baseball Rules Editor for the past 14 years before stepping down in 2001, and has worked as the pitching consultant for the past 10 years for the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala. He has also served on various committees for the American Baseball Coaches Association, the International Baseball Association and the United States Baseball Federation along with numerous NCAA committees. Thurston is widely known and respected as a baseball clinician, lecturer, and writer. He has conducted baseball clinics in over 25 states and five provinces of Canada. He has authored a book "An Instructional Manual for Pitchers and Pitching Coaches" and has published numerous articles and studies on baseball skills, rules, and coaching techniques. Thurston has also produced four pitching videos stressing proper pitching mechanics, video analysis of the pitching motion, proper care of the pitching arm, and prevention of pitching arm injuries.


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