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NAIA Throwback Thursday: Steve Grandizio (Class of '94)

NAIA Throwback Thursday: Steve Grandizio (Class of '94)

Thursday, October 31, 2019:

Wilmington University has a tremendous tradition that includes success at the conference, regional, and national levels. There have been numerous all-Americans who have excelled during competition and in the classroom. But did you know before the Wildcats joined the NCAA in 2004, there was an impressive tradition of excellence already established?

Wilmington College, as it was known at the time, produced remarkable team and individual athletic achievements as members of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) that have proven to lay the foundation for generations of future Wildcats.  The Department of Athletics in conjunction with the Department of Alumni Relations and Development would like to pay homage to our NAIA era with a weekly "Throwback Thursday" feature on some of its standouts. This week, we are highlighting baseball alum Steve Grandizio (Class of '94).

Q: What were some of the team accomplishments during your career as a Wildcat?

A: I was Honorable Mention All-American my freshman and sophomore years and 2nd Team All-American my junior and senior years.  I was also Area 8 Player of the Year as a junior and led Wilmington College to two NAIA World Series appearances (1992 and 1994).  I was the captain of the 1994 team and won the Rubino Service Award.  I was the first ever male recipient of the Presidential Academic/Athletic Scholarship.  I graduated holding several of the program's single season and career records including stolen bases, runs and hits.  Back then, about 25% of our games were against Division 1 opponents.  My first college hit was off of future major league pitcher Keith Garagozza from University of Delaware. 

Q: What were some personal achievements/awards you earned as a student-athlete at Wilmington College?

A: We won our conference all 4 years, won Area 8 twice to send us to the NAIA World Series in Des Moines.  My junior year, we beat University of Delaware all 3 times.  We won more than 140 games in my four years.

Q: What are your fondest memories of being a student-athlete?

A: The comradery that you have with your teammates is something that you have forever.  We worked really hard on the field and in the gym, but we had a great time with each other everywhere else.  The bus rides to and from games were an absolute blast!  My freshman year we went 42-19, so we played 61 games together.  You develop some deep friendships when you spend that much time together.

Q: Where has your professional career taken you since graduation?

A: I spent a little time in the minor leagues, playing independent ball and in the St. Louis Cardinals organization from 1994-1996.  After that, I have spent most of my business career in sales of some form.  Since 2003, I have been in the mortgage industry.  I run a team of loan officers in Center City who do business in the tri-state area.

Thank you, Steve, for sharing your experience! The Wilmington community appreciates what you have done and continue to do.

If you have any questions, comments, or nominations for alums to be highlighted from Wilmington College's NAIA era, please reach out to Dan Burke at daniel.j.burke@wilmu.edu.

Thursday, October 24, 2019:

Wilmington University has a tremendous tradition that includes success at the conference, regional, and national levels. There have been numerous All-Americans who have excelled during competition and in the classroom. But did you know before the Wildcats joined the NCAA in 2004, there was an impressive tradition of excellence already established?

Wilmington College, as it was known at the time, produced remarkable team and individual athletic achievements as members of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) that have proven to lay the foundation for generations of future Wildcats.  The Department of Athletics in conjunction with the Department of Alumni Relations would like to pay homage to our NAIA era with a weekly "Throwback Thursday" feature on some of its standouts. This week, we are highlighting baseball alum Rich DiRocco (Class of '86).

Q: What were some of the team accomplishments during your career as a Wildcat?

A: Our 1984 team was the first to make the College World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. In 1985, our team was the first team to play our in-state rival, University of Delaware. I had the honor to pitch that game. Our team also won the Districts title three years in a row. 

Q: What were some personal achievements/awards you earned as a student-athlete at Wilmington College?

A: I earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in 1986 in Business Administration. I received All-American honors in 1984 & 1985 and I was the first Wilmington College baseball player inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2004.
I also enjoyed mentoring kids in the campus day care center after classes.  It helped subsidize my tuition and gave me great pleasure to help kids learn and teach values.

Q: What are your fondest memories of being a student-athlete?

A: Obtaining a College degree was always a dream especially after not being drafted. Playing in the College World Series and, most importantly, sustained relationships after all these years are definite highlights of my time at Wilmington College. I still maintain contact with former University president, Dr. Jack Varsalona, who was actually my professor. I have a relationship with the current head baseball coach, Brian August, which began in my semi pro days. The relationships built with Alumni Director, Stu Hanf, and Athletic Director, Dr. Stefanie Whitby, have enabled me and former teammates to stay involved in the baseball alumni and bridge the gap from the NAIA teams to the current NCAA teams.

Q: Where has your professional career taken you since graduation?

A: My degree has allowed me to sustain a career in the banking industry for 33 years as an officer and leader. I am currently employed at JP Morgan Chase.

Thank you, Rich, for sharing your experience! The Wilmington community appreciates what you have done and continue to do.

If you have any questions, comments, or nominations for alums to be highlighted from Wilmington College's NAIA era, please reach out to Dan Burke at daniel.j.burke@wilmu.edu.