Serpico, Neil (Ziggy) (1993)
“His tireless commitment to the game of baseball, his players and West Chester will be forever remembered," is an appropriate tribute to the late Dr. Neil "Ziggy" Serpico.
The words are inscribed on a plaque at Serpico Stadium at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.
The stadium was renamed in his honor on Sept. 17, 1989.
Serpico was baseball coach a West Chester for 17 seasons, compiling a record of 296-243-5.
he was inducted into the University's Hall of Fame July 14, 1989.
Serpico died unexpectedly on April 27, 1987 at the age of 55.
he became ill during the first game of a double-header against C.W. Post and suffered a stroke.
A native of Biddeford, Serpico was a three-sport star for the Tigers.
In 1950 he was an All-Telegram League third baseman with a .426 average.
Serpico (he adopted his nickname from a former professional basketball Star) went on to play three Sports at Connecticut's Cheshire Academy.
After a year at Ohio University, he transferred to the University of New Hampshire.
He hit .354 for the Wildcats in 1954 and was a two-way player in football.
Serpico graduated in 1955, earned a master's degree at Boston University and subsequently coached Thornton Academy to Telegram league championships in 1958-59.
At Biddeford he started the football team’s resurgence in the late 1960's.
His next Stop was as a graduate assistant under Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama. Serpico earned his doctorate there in 1967. He was appointed assistant baseball coach at West Chester the following year.
He coached the 1969 freshman football team to an undefeated season.
in 1971 he succeeded Dr. W. Glenn Killinger as head baseball coach.
The Golden Rams competed in Division | for all three years of Serpico's tenure. Twenty-two of his players signed major league contracts, the last Pat Kelly, a 10th round draft choice of the New York Yankees.
He organized the West Chester University Baseball Club, the West Chester University Alumni Club and the Golden Ram Club to improve his baseball program.
During the winter months he conducted little league clinics.
He was the founder of the West Chester University Baseball Coaching Clinic.
Serpico worked relentlessly for baseball and was constantly involved in projects to give his team visibility.
His favorite player was Dominic DiMaggio, center fielder for the Boston Red Sox.
In an article written after his death, Casey Husband summarized Serpico's career.
‘Basically, Neil Serpico was a dinosaur.
He was a bachelor who dedicated his life to coaching baseball.
Serpico was a P.T. Barnum for West Chester baseball, a year round promoter and entrepreneurial whiz dealing in car washes, spaghetti dinners and banquets." ‘USC's Rod Dedeaux and Miami's Ron Frazier normally have been recognized as the leaders in their field."
If they had more enthusiasm for the game than Serpico, college baseball's World Series is played in Taiwan."