Frank Szymanski doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on his coaching accomplishments. Sometimes he’s not even aware of them.
Informed a 2010 victory over Region XX champion Potomac State was the 300th of his coaching career, Szymanski said that just meant "I’ve been coaching a long time." Similarly, he didn’t realize his team’s 30th win of the 2010 season was also the 300th at Chesapeake College.
When Szymanski does consider what it all means, it’s others he thinks of first.
"I always think about the commitment our players have made to the college, both academically and athletically," he said after his 300th career victory. "I also think about how incredibly supportive the faculty, staff and administration have been of our program."
Szymanski, however, is best known for his success in baseball. He will enter the 2014 season with a 384-268-6 record in 14 seasons at Chesapeake and 402-337-6 mark in 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach. That record includes 10 winning seasons in the last 11 years – each featuring at least 25 victories. More important than the victories, according to Szymanski, is the program's ability to assist players in reaching their potential.
"Our coaching staff wants to help our players develop their skills and prepare for the next level," said Szymanski, who routinely sends players to four-year NCAA Division I, II and III institutions to continue their playing career. The Skipjacks also recently sent two players to the pros, with shortstop Mike Turner's selection by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2010 amateur draft and Nik Nowottnik’s signing by the Orioles organization as a free agent.
Already the college’s career leader in coaching victories, Szymanski has racked up a collection of "firsts" with the Skipjacks. He led Chesapeake to its first 20-win season in 2001, first 25-win season in 2003, and first 40-win season in 2005. That 2005 squad became the first Chesapeake baseball team to win region and district titles, advance to the NJCAA Division II World Series, and win a World Series game on the way to a fifth-place national finish.
"We feel like we’ve built a solid foundation for the baseball program," said Szymanski, who has a .589 winning percentage at Chesapeake. ""We’ve been in the playoffs every year and we’ve been competitive with almost every team. We really feel like we’re headed in the right direction."
While Szymanski credits his players for Chesapeake’s success – "Players win games, not coaches," he said – it’s no coincidence that the Skipjacks became perennial winners when Szymanski came aboard. He was named NJCAA Division II Region XX Coach of the Year and Northeast District Coach of the Year in 2005, when he was also selected Maryland College Coach of the Year – an award that encompasses all NCAA and NJCAA programs. Rich Midcap, Chesapeake’s vice president for student success and enrollment services, praised Szymanski for the way he has rebuilt the program.