Although many years have gone by, former players of Coach Bob Bellizzi often get emotional when they speak of the lessons they learned from him on and off the field. He will forever be his own chapter in the history of Golden Knights athletics.
At Saint Rose, the name “Bob Bellizzi” is shorthand for baseball. Coach Bellizzi, who founded the College’s baseball program in 1979, was the team’s beloved head coach for 28 years.
Under his leadership, the Golden Knights made appearances in the NAIA World Series in 1990 and the NCAA DII World Series in 2000. He was recognized as Coach of the Year on multiple occasions by CACC, District 31, Area 8 and the Northeast-10, after amassing a career 778-458-2 record. His .629 winning percentage placed him among the top-20 active coaches at the NCAA Division II level, and Saint Rose inducted him into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
More than any of those accolades, his former players still talk about the lasting impact he had on their lives.
Diagnosed with leukemia in 1996, Coach Bellizzi continued at the helm until his passing in May 2006.
At Saint Rose’s commencement that year, keynote speaker and business executive Joseph J. Plumeri announced a $100,000 donation to build a baseball field in Hoffman Park in Coach Bellizzi’s honor. Bob Bellizzi Field at the Christian Plumeri Sports Complex has served as the home of the Golden Knights baseball team since 2009.
Coach Bellizzi also taught social sciences for over 25 years at Albany High School, established a summer baseball camp, and served as president of the Amsterdam Mohawks (NYCBL) and Albany Senators (ATL) summer baseball clubs. His family continues to run the Albany Senators, coached by sons Rob and Michael, as well as the baseball camp, directed by his son Michael. Coach Bellizzi’s family, wife Kim G’07, daughters Kara Donohue ’18, and Rachel King ’06, G’07, sons Rob ’10, G’13, G’18, Michael ’13, G’17, and Alexander ’16, are all proud alums of Saint Rose.