Coach Arce to be Honored with Lefty Gomez Award

William B. “Bill” Arce, founding athletic director of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps athletic program, will be honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) with the prestigious Lefty Gomez Award. The honor will be bestowed on Arce at the ABCA annual convention in Nashville, TN, on Friday, January 5, 2001, 6:30 p.m., in the Opryland Hotel .

The Lefty Gomez Award honors ABCA members and others who have distinguished themselves amongst their peers and who have contributed significantly to amateur baseball locally, nationally, and internationally. The award has been given annually since 1962. Gomez was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 along with the great catcher Yogi Berra and fellow pitcher Sandy Koufax, among others. After retiring from the NY Yankees, Gomez distinguished himself as an ambassador of baseball with the Wilson Sporting Goods Company, sponsor of the award.

“There is no more deserving a recipient than Bill Arce,” commented Dave Keilitz , Executive Director of the ABCA. ” He is one of the few individuals who has gone beyond the call of duty in serving amateur baseball all over the world. Bill has started clinics in every continent. There may even be a few penguins playing pepper in Antarctica.”

An active participant in the ABCA for 45 years, Arce served as its president in 1974 and as Chairman of its Board of Directors from 1995 through 1998. Since 1962, he has committed his summers and sabbatical leaves to developing baseball internationally. Arce is the first American baseball coach to have provided baseball instruction in Sweden (1962), Czechoslovakia (1969), Yugoslavia (1979), and the People’s Republic of China (1980). He has coached the National Teams of both Holland (1971) and Italy (1975) to the European Baseball championship and he is the only coach to win the European Championship for two different countries. Arce was on the coaching staff for the USA national teams in 1970, 1976, and 1978.

Arce has been inducted into the Royal Dutch Baseball/Softball Hall of Fame. He has been honored by the Italian Federation twice and he has received special recognition awards from the Baseball Federations in Belgium, Sweden, and France. Arce was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 19765. The ABCA inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1982.

During his tenure as baseball coach and athletic director of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps joint athletic program, Arce developed the program, facilities, and staff into one of the top NCAA Division III private college programs in the country. He served as head baseball coach from 1958 through 1979. During his 21-year tenure, his record was 446-354-16 (Wins-Losses-Ties). Arce was named Area I Coach of the Year by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 1979. In 1978 and 1979, the National Collegiate Athletic Association named him District 8 Coach of the Year.

“Everything that we do here now has its roots in what Bill established,” said Mike Sutton , Acting Director of Athletics for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. “Bill believes that athletics and physical education are not just about wins and losses; they are about defining success. This mind-body dynamic applies to the classroom as much as the athletic field and life. He demonstrated this philosophy through his actions and he instilled this philosophy in his coaches and players. Even 18 years after his retirement, this philosophy continues to be passed down from coach to coach.”

To honor Arce, his philosophy, and his achievements, and upon his retirement from coaching in 1979, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps community named its baseball field Arce Field . He was also the initial recipient of the SCIAC Distinguished Service Award in 1984.

Arce founded International Sports Group , a non-profit organization, to conduct international coaching clinics. These clinics were started in 1985 and they continue to impact baseball development in six or seven countries annually.

Arce earned his bachelor’s, masters, and doctoral degrees from Stanford University. He also attended San Mateo Jr. College and Oakland High School.

For more information about the ABCA, contact Dave Keirlitz, Executive Director, (517) 775-3300 (www.abca.org). The Lefty Gomez Award Committee of the ABCA is chaired by Coach John Cunningham of the University of San Diego, (619) 260-8894.

Claremont McKenna College, ranked in U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 15 liberal arts colleges in the country, educates leaders in business, government, the professions and public affairs. The College has more than 1,000 undergraduate students, nearly 30 percent of whom participate in intercollegiate athletics. CMS fields ten men’s teams and nine women’s teams and it is the only program in its conference to have earned a title in every sport.

Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Scripps College form the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps athletic program. All are members of The Claremont Colleges, a consortium of five undergraduate colleges and two graduate institutions located in Claremont, California.