Florida Tech Mourns Passing of Legendary Baseball Coach Les Hall
MELBOURNE, Fla. – Former Florida Tech head baseball coach Les Hall, who guided the Panthers to their first ever trip to the College World Series, passed away Friday at the age of 80.
Hall served as both the head coach and Associate Director of Athletics at Florida Tech from 1977-2002. The 596 wins over his 25-year career at FIT ranks Hall among the Top 25 in Division II baseball history. He remains the program’s all-time winningest coach.
Hall came to Florida Tech in 1977 after serving as the head coach for the Satellite High School baseball team in Satellite Beach, Florida, where he compiled a record of 204-79.
The 1992 season was one of the highlights during Hall’s career at FIT. That year Florida Tech earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA South Atlantic Regional Tournament and proceeded to win three straight games to reach the NCAA Division II College World Series for the first time in school history.
Florida Tech Athletic Director Bill Jurgens, Jr. had high praise for Hall, having worked with him for the duration of his time at FIT.
“He was the blueprint for what a coach should be,” said Jurgens. “He cared for the individuals, had strong values and imparted those values, and they became better students, better athlete, from having him as their coach. He was very special. A lot of people, he changed their lives, and they’re forever grateful.”
Current Florida Tech head coach Greg Berkemeier, who joined Florida Tech the season following Hall’s retirement in 2002, remembers Hall as being a genuine person and someone he could look to for knowledge and advice.
“Coach Hall was a very warm and gracious individual,” stated Berkemeier. “He did a great job with the program for all of those years and touched many, many lives. I instantly liked and respected him from the short meetings we had early on. Over the years I got a chance to grow the relationship a little bit. He was a great guy to be around and will definitely be missed.”
Florida Tech head women’s basketball coach John Reynolds, who worked with Hall for 15 years at FIT, remembers him as having an impact on everyone he met during his long career at the school.
“I think he (Hall) was the most influential coach I ever met. He was a mentor to the athletes he coached, as well as the other people who coached here at Florida Tech. Besides my father, I can’t think of anyone who has influenced me like that.”
Assistant Athletic Director and head cross country coach, Pete Mazzone, reflects back on his time with Hall during the 17 years they worked together at Florida Tech.
“You could tell Les was a good coach and good mentor because he was so patient and diligent with everything he did,” said Mazzone. “He meant a great deal to not only his student-athletes but certainly me, as a young administrator at the time, along with quite a few others who came after me. We really appreciated all of the things he did for the baseball program and Florida Tech as a whole. You could certainly tell his players loved him.
“We used to eat lunch together every day in an office. There used to be about four or five of us just sitting around for an hour, eating and talking with each other. Those are the times I miss because that’s when I really got to know Les.”
A 1996 inductee into the Florida Tech Sports Hall of Fame, Hall was further honored two years later, in 1998, with the retirement of his number and induction into the Satellite High School Hall of Fame. In 1999, Hall helped Florida Tech dedicate the school’s new baseball field, which is named Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field, honoring him and former major league star Andy Seminick. In 2003, Hall was welcomed into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame following an illustrious career in the league.
Hall is survived by his wife, Jo Ann, daughter Jennifer Hall, sister Lane (Willard) Woodring, nephews Jesse Woodring, BJ White and Robert Smith, nieces Kellie and Michelle White and their respective families.
Funeral services are set for 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday at Brownlie-Maxwell Funeral Home in Melbourne, with viewing at 1:30 p.m. Hall will be buried in Georgia.