By Scott Kindberg
Anthony Barone's ties to Jamestown Community College run long and deep, but the opportunity to be part of a Division I baseball program proved too enticing, so the longtime Jayhawks coach will leave early next month to assume an assistant coaching position at California State University Bakersfield.
Anthony Barone was the head coach at Jamestown Community College for seven seasons, including 2008 when he was named the NJCAA?Region 3 Division III coach of the year.
P-J file photo
by Scott Kindberg
"I've loved my time at JCC,'' Barone said, "but it's time for me to do something different, to try and become a better coach, and it begins with working hard out there.''
Barone, 33, will join a staff headed by Bill Kernan, who founded the program in 2009 and has posted a 97-119 record in four seasons. Kernan also coached seven seasons at CSU Northridge and served as pitching coach at CSU Fullerton for five. The Roadrunners, who played as an independent, will join the Western Athletic Conference this year. They open their season at home Feb. 15-17 when they entertain the University of Nebraska.
"Bakersfield is definitely a baseball school,'' Barone said. "(Kernen) definitely has the program headed in the right direction and it's something I want to be part of.''
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Barone, the Region 3 Coach of the Year in 2008, leaves JCC after serving seven seasons as head coach and four as an assistant under Kerry Kellogg. As a college player, Barone was selected one of JCC's 50 greatest athletes after finishing in the top 10 in numerous statistical categories. Upon graduating, he played two seasons at Felecian (N.J.) College where he also played well enough to place his name in the school's record book.
"There are so many people who have touched my life here,'' Barone said, "starting with Coach Kellogg, first as my coach and then giving me a chance as an assistant. Then there are the players. I tell the guys that I wouldn't have had this opportunity if it wasn't for them being successful.''
Barone also gave special thanks to his wife, Susan, for her support, both during his JCC tenure, and in his decision to take the Bakersfield job.
"For me, I wanted to be sure if I did this it was the right way,'' Barone said. "I've been coaching the game for a while now. If I made a jump, I wanted to do it with the right program and the right head coach. (Kernen's) well respected and a great teacher of the game. It's something where I found the right fit and they wanted me as well. It's a win-win situation.''
Among Barone's highlights at JCC were being an assistant in 2004 when the Jayhawks earned a berth in the NJCAA Division III World Series and this spring when they advanced to the Region 3 Final Four and finished 25-22 after a 7-18 start.
"Anthony Barone, as a student-athlete, assistant coach, and most recently, as the JCC head baseball coach, has helped to shape a very successful Jayhawk program,'' said Eileen Goodling, JCC's vice president and dean of student development, in a statement released by the school. ''His contributions to both JCC athletics and his players have been considerable and he will be missed by both players and colleagues. Coach Barone has a tremendous opportunity ahead of him to coach Division 1 baseball at California State-Bakersfield and all at JCC wish him well."
Barone, who will leave for California on Sept. 6, said there was more to his time at JCC than simply the victories.
"I would have to say the relationship I built with the players and seeing them move on to four-year schools,'' he said. ''When you see them come back after college and you see they're successful after all the hard work they put in for you, that's (what it's all about).''