Sanborn, Will (2013)
Though one of the younger inductees to be called by the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in recent years, Will Sanborn embodies the virtues of old-school baseball that would make the legends of 1950’s town team ball proud. A 2004 article in the St. Joseph’s College Quarterly Magazine quoted Sanborn on his coaching philosophy: “We have a philosophy that you come to practice to get better every day. You want to leave a better player than when you came in.”
Sanborn’s playing career emanated entirely from his home town of Standish, Maine, first at Bonny Eagle High School, and then as a team leader and left-fielder for Coach Jim Graffam’s very competitive St. Joseph’s teams in the mid 1980’s.
Will served as assistant under Phil Desjardins for two years (1991-92) before assuming head coaching duties at St. Joseph’s in 1993. During his 21 years as the Monks’ skipper, Sanborn has accumulated a 573-309-5 (.650) record with 17 championships, including 12 conference crowns, and 5 NAIA New England titles. St. Joseph’s has reached the 25-victory plateau in 14 of Sanborn’s 21 years and posted 30 or more wins on 10 occasions.
Well-established as one of the best Division III baseball programs in New England, St. Joseph’s has been particularly strong over the last nine years, a spell during which the Monks have registered eight conference titles, eight NCAA tournament appearances, and eight 30-win seasons under Sanborn’s tenure.
As the Assistant Athletic Director in charge of managing the athletic fields, Sanborn is largely credited with developing Larry Mahaney Diamond into one of the finest collegiate baseball fields in New England. Applying the same focused determination to field maintenance as he does to his baseball teams, Will has overseen fund-raising efforts to upgrade and improve all the ball fields at the Ward Park complex and routinely leads his team in a snow-shoveling brigade to ready the diamond for Opening Day.
Beyond the on-field accomplishments of his teams, and perhaps even more enduring, is the long-term influence Sanborn impresses on his players. Pitching coach Steve Merrill (Maine Baseball Hall of Fame ’06) puts it this way: “Will embraces the link between character and performance. He strives to answer that essential question of ‘why are we doing this in the first place?’ He has high expectations for every person on the team and consistently monitors their grades and citizenship. Lessons of character are built into every day’s practice plan.”
A relative youngster in the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame pantheon, Will Sanborn’s career is nevertheless emblematic of the timeless qualities that Mainers most admire in their baseball heroes – an unquenchable work ethic, a team-driven unwavering commitment to teammates and players, and an abiding respect for the institution of baseball.
St. Joseph’s College Chaplain Fr. John Tokaz summed it up in the Quarterly Magazine article: “He is a man who strives to bring out the best in his players by giving them the best of himself”.
From St Josephs College
During his 26 years as the Monks' skipper, Sanborn has accumulated a 715-377-5 (.655) record with 20 championships, including 14 conference crowns and five NAIA New England titles, and 23 winning seasons. Saint Joseph's has reached the 25-victory plateau in 19 of Sanborn's 26 years and posted 30 or more wins on 12 occasions.
The Monks have been particularly strong since the start of the 2005 season. Over the last 14 years, Saint Joseph’s has posted an incredible 434-180 (.707) overall record, including an otherworldly 162-34 (.827) mark versus conference foes.
Over this 14-year span, St. Joe’s has made eight NCAA DIII Tournament appearances with an ECAC Tournament berth in 2005. In the New England Regional, the Monks have been seeded as high as #2 on a pair of occasions and have won 11 NCAA tourney games, including 10 over the past four appearances.
In yet another testament to the program’s winning ways, Saint Joseph’s has notched at least 30 victories in 10 of the past 14 seasons – a feat achieved by just two other New England programs.