Utica Softball Head Coach Pat Mineo to retire at the end of May


Utica Pioneers

Patrick Mineo has been the head coach of Utica University for the past 17 seasons.

Matthew Breault and Emily Joss

Pat Mineo, the man who has been at the helm of Utica University softball since the 2005 season, is set to retire after 17 seasons as head coach.

Mineo, who will turn 75 in May, has been one of the most successful Utica coaches in recent memory. In fact, Mineo is one of just three active coaches at the university who has more than 300 wins in his coaching career, while also becoming the first of those three to earn the 300th win back in April 2021.

After battling some back injuries over the past couple years and other personal reasons, Mineo decided it was time to walk away from the game he spent more than 35 years coaching. Mineo’s retirement will be official on May 31, and he has mixed feelings about it.

“It’s really tough to walk away from the game, but for every pro, I also find a con for why I should step away,” Mineo said. “I do want to spend some extra time with my wife, my children and my friends too. I think my friends are more excited about me announcing my retirement because now they can call me and know that I don’t have excuses for why I can’t come over.”

In his career as head coach of the Utica University softball team, Mineo has accumulated 321 career wins, including six seasons of more than 20 wins and two seasons of more than 30 wins. One of Mineo’s best seasons as head coach came in 2006, where he led the program to an impressive 31-11 overall record, while winning his first of two Empire 8 Conference Coach of the Year awards. 

During the 2013 season, Mineo also led the team to not only a program best 34-14 overall record, but also coached the team to its first ever bid to the NCAA Tournament, and first ever NCAA Tournament win.

Other notable accomplishments of Mineo include:

  • Two-time Empire 8 Coach of the Year (2006, 2013)
  • Placing nearly 100 student-athletes on All-Conference Teams
  • Having guided four players to the conference’s top honors (Rookie of the Year 2011, 2013; Player of the Year 2013, 2018)
  • Eight winning seasons

“It’s been a really nice run for me and it has been a really enjoyable experience,” Mineo said. “Coaching the games has been the most fun part of the job and actually being with the players after the games, win or lose, is a lot of fun and they’re just a joy to be around.”

Kari Beane, the pitching coach for Utica University’s softball team, said she has known Mineo for 33 years and has shared numerous memories with him both on and off the softball field.

“Mineo was my travel softball coach for years, and I even watched Mineo be inducted into the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Hall of Fame,” Beane said. “I have worked alongside Mineo at Utica University for 15 years and I have been his pitching coach for 13 years. It is hard for me to imagine Utica softball without Coach Mineo.”

Beane also reflected on the moments she shared with Mineo specifically off the field.

“We have laughed, argued and we have cried together,” Beane said. “He has not only been my coach, coworker, boss and friend; he has been like a father to me. I will miss seeing him everyday. I love him and hope he gets to travel and spend time with Linda and his family.”

Another member of the Utica University softball community who is sad to see Mineo retire is alumnus Danielle Alpi. Alpi is a 2015 graduate of then Utica College and served as an assistant coach under Mineo, who she said was the best person she has ever worked for and is the best boss anyone could ever ask for.

“He treats his coaches, trainers and players all like his family and he welcomes you in, keeps you motivated and truly inspired me to love the game of softball in more than just one perspective,” Alpi said. “Coach’s love for the game is infectious and his knowledge, work ethic and want for Utica to be best, really drove me as an assistant coach to be more for the team. He inspired me to work as tirelessly as he did, and he made one of the most stressful jobs incredibly fun and rewarding.”

Alpi also said Mineo has been one of the most important people in her life and he taught her the value of hard work and that if she put in the effort with players, they would give her the same effort back on the field.

“Coach taught me that while work is important and needs to get done, it is important to take care of yourself before you can take care of others,” she said. “Most importantly, he taught me how to share that with our team and he allowed me to grow into a leader and grow into my position as a coach. Coach made my time with him the most memorable job I have had to date and to me, he will always be my best friend.”

Throughout his tenure at Utica University, Mineo developed many relationships with all those who were around him. With that being said, he was adamant about returning to Utica softball games as a fan, because the best part of the game to him was being around the girls every day.

“As a retiring coach, the part I will miss the most is being around these girls,” Mineo said. “They come and see me and come and talk to me, and I’ll be there for the good times with them. To come and see them, give them a hug and laugh with them. I won’t be there to coach, because my coaching days are over and I am not coaching and doing anything with softball other than to watch it on T.V., and come and watch Utica play softball, if it’s warm.”