Its official name is John Jay College of Criminal Justice. But the ability of its head baseball coach to turn adversity into triumph ought to be against the law.
Entering his ninth season as head baseball coach and first year as Director of Athletics, Dan Palumbo has seen it all. Taking the helm of a program that had won just one game the year before he started in 2002, he’s led the Bloodhounds to the City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) playoffs every year and the conference championship game three out of the past four seasons, winning it in 2002 and 2007.
In 2007, the Bloodhounds posted 27 wins, and Dan won the CUNYAC Coach of the Year award for the second time in as many seasons.
But that’s just baseball…
Dan Palumbo is all about his players, all of whom ride the subway, or drive, a long way just to get to the school at 58th Street and Tenth Avenue in Manhattan. Then, they van it to the team’s practice field…in Brooklyn. And five of Dan’s former players are now his assistants. “We lost nine players last season,” Dan states, “so, we’re starting from scratch.” But two earned associates degrees and went into the NYPD, and the other seven graduated. And the team contains the highest percentage at the school of NYC students first from their families to go to college. That’s a win in anybody’s book.
“We nurture players,” he remarks, “to have pride of ownership in their team.” And in their community, in which the team involves itself with many service and charity projects every year, which – in 2007 – resulted in the presentation of a Proclamation from the City of New York by New York City Councilwoman, Gale Brewer.
A good example of the team’s work ethic is senior centerfielder Edwin Hernandez, who managed all the details for the team’s trip to Florida – airline, vans, and hotel. And the kids themselves raised the $25,000 to pay for it.
Noting that this past Friday’s practice at the Snowbird venue was the team’s first outdoor practice of the season (as was last season’s), Dan remarked “I’m ridiculously proud of this team. They don’t quit.”
Obviously, neither does their head coach.