The Gorillas are receiving a hornet as former Emporia State head baseball coach Bob Fornelli is taking over as the new head coach of the Pitt State baseball team.
Fornelli has held position as head coach in division II baseball for 22 years, 15 of which have been spent at Emporia State. In his coaching experience he has won over 900 games and is looking forward to bringing his winning streak to a new field.
“It’s been a quick transition,” Fornelli said. “We’ve been doing stuff in Pitt for two and a half or three weeks. We’ve had a couple of camps so far. Overall, it’s been good to be around here, move into the community, and get people excited about Pitt State baseball.”
Though Fornelli is an Emporia state graduate, his father’s family is from Arma. Fornelli said he remembers many summers spent in both the Arma and Pittsburg areas. When it came to making the change to the gorillas, he felt the choice would be a great one.
“I really enjoy that Pitt State has such great support of their athletic programs,” Fornelli said. “It’s evident that they want to win championships and they are giving their athletes every opportunity to do so. That’s one of the things that really attracted me to coming here and I’m excited to see what I can do to help them win some championships.”
Among his first season goals for the Gorillas, his first priority is creating the right environment for the team—beginning with practice.
“I think the biggest thing is to becoming a family as a baseball team as fast as we can,” Fornelli said. “The wins and losses will come as a result of how close we are, and how much we believe in each other. We’ve got to establish trust and loyalty in who we are and what we hope to accomplish. Then we’ll start working on those wins.
When it comes to his coaching philosophy as a whole, one word Fornelli continues to echo is “family.”
“You’re basically around each other all the time for ten months out of the year,” he said. “I treat my players like they’re my little brothers. That can be great sometimes and it can be bad sometimes when they’re not doing what they’re supposed to, but it really keeps everyone accountable. This should be the best time of their lives. We want them to enjoy it and we want them to win and those are our goals each and every day.”
Upon first finding out about the changes in coaching, members of the team were very surprised. Senior Brendan Stanek said it all came very quick, though it still left excitement for what would come next.
“It’s going to be interesting because it’s definitely not the first thing I expected after last year being with coach Myers and everything,” Stanek said. “But change isn’t a bad thing. Coach Myers did a great job, but I know coach Fornelli is great too. He has a great record coming from Emporia State and I think it’s going to be a good fit. It’s going to be interesting having him for the first time in the program, but I’m excited to see what knowledge and experience he comes in with and where he’s going to take the team this year.”
Fornelli said he looks forward his first season as a Gorilla and seeing what he is able to bring to Pitt State baseball.
“I’m excited to be a part of the Pitt State family,” Fornelli said. “I can’t wait to be a part of the community and for them to come watch our product that we put on the field. I look forward to them seeing how hard we work every day to be successful, not only in the field, but in the classroom as well.”