BY Jim Fenton
EASTON - His first victory as the head baseball coach at Stonehill College was achieved on March 7, 1998, over Bloomsburg University in Fort Myers, Fla.
The wins have been piling up ever since for Brockton native Patrick Boen, now in the early stages of his 19th season with the Skyhawks.
Boen, a 1989 graduate of Stonehill, reached a milestone last Thursday by recording the 500th win of his career, a 14-2 victory over Concordia College in Winter Park, Fla.
That makes Boen one of roughly 45 coaches in the history of Division 2 baseball to record at least 500 wins.
"You think about being here for a long time,'' said Boen, who is now 503-355-3. "You think back to all the players that are part of it, the coaches who have helped you accomplish that.
"But really, you mostly think about the players that you had an influence on as they've come through here.''
Boen was a two-sport standout at Stonehill, playing point guard and shortstop and earning a spot in the school's Athletics Hall of Fame.
Nearly 10 years after graduating, Boen took over the baseball program at his alma mater and has been the Northeast-10 Conference coach of the year three times and brought the Skyhawks to the NCAA tournament in 2000, 2010 and 2015.
"At the time, we were looking to kind of solidify the program a little bit, get it on track and get it into playoff contention,'' said Boen. "They hadn't been to the Northeast-10 playoffs in a few years. Now, I think we're thought of as a pretty strong program in a great place.''
Stonehill has finished below .500 just once under Boen, going 21-24 in 2007. In five of the past six seasons, the Skyhawks have won at least 30 games and made the NE-10 tourney.
Boen, a member of the Brockton High Athletics Hall of Fame after helping the Boxers win a state championship in basketball, said the job remains enjoyable.
"It really is,'' said Boen, whose staff includes Coley Lyons, Greg Zackrison, Tim Mouton, Lou Proiett and Tom Savageau. "It's a little different being an experienced coach, but I don't think that love or passion or getting ready for a game has changed.
"I was actually talking to the Rollins College coach, Jon Sjogren, who was at Bryant when I first started, down in Florida after I got the 500th win,'' said Boen. "I said it's amazing how it really hasn't changed in these 19 years.
"I still get nervous before every game. I still think one out or one play can be the difference in a game and you start to get a little anxiety and nervousness about it. I don't think that's changed at all in all these years, how exciting it is to be with these kids and coach baseball.''
Stonehill (10-5) returned home from Florida with an eight-game winning streak after losing its first two games on the trip, 1-0 and 2-1, to Post University. The Skyhawks play three games this weekend at Molloy College.
The Skyhawks are already one-third of the way to another 30-win season with 32 games to go.
"I think it's about getting good leaders and getting guys that people want to follow,'' said Boen. "The younger guys want to have the same experience that the older players have had, to work hard in practice, in the weight room and do the right things.
"Getting the right type of people in the program so they are going to be just the same as the guys that they followed the year or two years before is important. It's about great leadership.''
Jim Fenton's Colleges appears Wednesday and Friday in The Enterprise. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JFenton_ent.