After leading Monmouth baseball into a new era, joining the MAAC in 2014, Dean Ehehalt returns for his 22nd season at the helm of the Hawks baseball program.
Ehehalt, a three-time recipient of the NEC Coach of the Year, and a eight-time honoree of the NJCBA Coach of the Year, has guided the Hawks to 17 Conference Tournament appearances since 1996. He also led Monmouth to 11 Conference Championship games from 1998 to 2012, and 4 NEC titles and NCAA Regional appearances in 1998, 1999, 2007 and 2009. Ehehalt has posted 573 career wins at Monmouth, and has registered a .630 winning percentage in NEC play. Under Ehehalt's direction, the Hawks have amassed 20 consecutive 20-win seasons and eight 30-win seasons, while appearing in 69 postseason games.
In addition to success leading his players during their four years in West Long Branch, Ehehalt saw his first former player reach the Major Leagues in 2011 (Brad Brach, San Diego Padres). Pitcher Pat Light also became Ehehalt’s first player drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft in 2012 (Boston Red Sox, 37th overall).
In Monmouth's first year in the MAAC, Ehehalt led MU to a pair of MAAC Tournament wins, including an extra inning win over Manhattan and a 5-2 victory over Quinnipiac to eliminate the Bobcats. Between April 23-May 11, Ehehalt and the Hawks reeled off 11 consecutive wins, including a pair of MAAC weekend series sweeps. In year one in the league, the Hawks posted an 11-2 record at home, and went 9-1 in MAAC games in West Long Branch. Three Hawks were named to All-MAAC teams, with outfielder Craig Sweeney and second baseman Jake Gronsky earning All-MAAC First Team honors, while junior RHP Chris McKenna was on the All-MAAC Second Team. Six Hawks were named to All-NJCBA teams, including freshmen Ricky Dennis and Grant Lamberton.
Considered by many to be in a rebuilding year in 2013, Ehehalt led the Hawks to 30 wins and the No. 3 seed in the NEC Tournament. Under Ehehalt’s tutelage, Andrew McGee earned NEC Pitcher of the Year, becoming the fifth hurler to earn conference pitcher of the year in Ehehalt’s time in West Long Branch. McGee surpassed Light’s single-season innings pitched record with 110.1, posting a 2.12 ERA, including a 1.12 ERA in an undefeated conference slate. Jake Gronsky was named to the All-NEC First Team at second base for the second-straight year, while Owen Stewart, who hit .374 on the season, earned All-NEC Second Team. Nine Hawks were named NJCBA All-State, led by Rookie Pitcher of the Year Frank Trimarco.
Ehehalt led the Hawks to the top seed in the NEC Tournament in 2012, where Monmouth faced Sacred Heart in the finals. The Hawks again won more than 30 games, including more than 20 in league play. Light, the NJCBA Pitcher of the Year, posted a Monmouth single-season record 102 strikeouts in 101.1 innings pitched. Along with Light, Gronsky was named to the All-NEC First Team, while Jamie Rosenkranz took second-team honors. Danny Avella was also named to the NJCBA First Team, while Adam Yunginger took All-Rookie Team honors.
The 2011 season proved to be a memorable one for Ehehalt and his squad, advancing to the Northeast Conference Tournament finals after earning the program's seventh NEC Regular Season crown. Guided by NEC Pitcher of the Year, Nick Meyers, and the NEC/NJCBA Player of the Year, Ryan Terry, who was also selected in the 20th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, the Hawks did not lose a league series en route to their 25 conference victories, setting the new program record, while also coming within one win of tying the school mark of 37 victories set in 2008.
Ehehalt guided his 2010 team to the NEC Tournament for the fourth-straight season, lead by first-team second basemen Terry, who earned his second conference honor. The Hawks, who defeated #16 East Carolina earlier in the season, finished with 22 wins on the year.
In 2009, the Hawks won their second league trophy in three years, while having four players earn all-conference and 11 named to All-New Jersey teams, and advanced to the Oxford Regional hosted by University of Mississippi. Led by two-time first-team all-league second baseman Chris Collazo, Monmouth earned 32 victories overall and won 15 conference contests, while junior pitchers Ryan Buch (8th - Chicago White Sox) and Brett Brach (10th - Cleveland Indians) were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, lifting the total number of players picked in Ehehalt's tenure to seven.
Monmouth, which set a new standard for wins in 2008 with 37, won its eighth regular season title and advanced NEC Tournament for the 11th time under Ehehalt.
In 2008, the Hawks won the regular season title behind a 20-5 league mark, and boasted the NEC Player of the Year in shortstop Kyle Higgins, and the NEC and NJCBA Rookie of the Year in third baseman Terry. In addition, six players were named all-conference, eight were tabbed All-New Jersey, three were named ABCA All-East and a pair were named Freshman All-Americans by two publications, including Collegiate Baseball.
The 2007 campaign was a magical one for Ehehalt and the Hawks, as Monmouth claimed its fifth Northeast Conference Championship and the program's third trip to an NCAA Regional.
The Blue and White ended the 2007 season victorious in 36 contests, 17 of which came in league play. Four players were named all-league, Brad Brach was named the NEC Pitcher of the Year, while Ryan Buch was Monmouth's second straight NEC Rookie of the Year award recipient.
Despite falling short of a ninth straight NEC Tournament appearance in 2006, Ehehalt guided the Hawks to 27 wins and a program-record ERA (3.34), which ranked eighth in the nation. The Hawks also had win streaks of 10 games and 12 games during the campaign.
Ehehalt, tabbed the New Jersey Coach of the Year for the fifth time in 2006, mentored his third NEC Player of the Year in Nick Massari. Massari, the school's all-time leader in triples, was also named the NCBWA District II Player of the Year, the NJCBA Player of the Year and an ABCA All-East Region second-team member. Joining Massari at the podium was Brad Brach, who was tabbed the New Jersey Pitcher of the Year and Rick Niederhaus, the NEC Rookie of the Year.
In his tenure with the Hawks, Ehehalt has coached 58 all-conference performers, and has mentored three NEC Player of the Years, seven NEC Rookie of the Years and four NEC Pitchers of the Year.
Behind a record-setting performance from its pitching staff, the 2005 squad equaled the school-record for wins (30) and set a new single-season ERA record (4.21). En route to its eighth consecutive postseason, the Hawks also earned national recognition as they were named National Team of the Week on April 21 by College Baseball Insider in honor of its 13-game win streak.
In 2004, the Blue and White made its seventh straight postseason appearance and finished the campaign with a 22-29-1 record, its ninth 20-win season in nine years. The Hawks also added pitcher Chris Della Rocco to the list of Major League Draft selections, joining Mike St. Martine and Lance Koenig.
In 2003, the Hawks battled to yet another title game appearance and finished the season with a 24-27 mark, their eighth consecutive 20-win season, while placing five members on all-conference teams, including the Rookie of the Year, Marc Weres.
In 2002, his Hawks posted the University's second 30-win season, setting NEC records in wins (23) and winning percentage (.852), while posting a conference best 16 consecutive wins. The 2001 Hawks went 29-24 overall and won the NEC South Division with a 17-5 mark.
The skipper has posted 16, 20-plus win (and six 30-plus win) seasons in West Long Branch and has led Monmouth to at least a share of eight NEC regular season titles.
Ehehalt has compiled a 498-458-2 record in his 20 years as a head coach, including a 477-430-2 mark over the past 18 seasons, making him the all-time winningest coach in Monmouth Division I history.
Ehehalt arrived at Monmouth after spending the 1992 and 1993 seasons at Upsala College where he implemented the resurgence of the Division III program. After finishing 5-22 in his first season, Ehehalt guided a predominantly freshmen squad to a 16-16 mark in his second campaign.
The Middletown, N.J., native spent the previous year as an assistant coach at Kennesaw State College in Marietta, Ga., where he was directly responsible for all aspects of defensive play and recruiting. Ehehalt spent the Fall of 1989 as an assistant coach at Princeton University where he was involved in recruiting, hitting fundamentals and outfield play. Ehehalt began his coaching career in 1988 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, East Carolina. He graduated in 1987 with a B.S. in physical education. In 1990, he earned his second degree from the school, receiving a master's in education, in the discipline of physical education.
As a senior at East Carolina, Ehehalt was named to the 1987 CAA Scholar-Athlete team. The same year, the Pirates won the league tournament championship.
Prior to his arrival at ECU, Ehehalt played two years at Brookdale Community College, where he was named first team Junior College All-Region XIX in 1984.
Besides directing baseball clinics and summer camps at Monmouth, Ehehalt has also worked camps throughout the country.
Ehehalt, who was on the NCAA Regional Baseball Advisory Committee, was named National Chair of the ABCA All-America Committee in December of 2007.
Ehehalt resides in Wall, with his wife, Lee Ann and daughter, Kelsi Mae, who is a senior at Monmouth.