Chris Pedretti’s passion for the game of baseball hasn’t waned in his 32 years as the head coach of the Merced College baseball team.
His love of paperwork is a different story. With head coaches required to do far more than just show up for practice and game days, the day-to-day demands of running a top-tier program have become less enjoyable over time.
Pedretti came up with a workable compromise. The winningest coach for any sport in Merced College history has opted to step down and stay on with the Blue Devils as an assistant. Long-time pitching coach Nate Devine will take over the head coaching duties.
“It’s something I’ve thought about probably the last five years,” Pedretti said. “I know that the program is being left in great hands with Nate Devine. I know that he’s ready to take over. The last few years he’s assumed more and more responsibilities.
“For me, I’m looking forward to being an assistant coach and not having as many responsibilities. It just felt like it was the right time.”
Devine led Merced College to a 22-14 record and a playoff berth in his lone season as a head coach when Pedretti took a one-year sabbatical during the 2012-13 school year. He knows he’s got his work cut out, however, to try and achieve Pedretti’s level of consistent success.
The Blue Devils’ 8-1 victory over Porterville at the end of April gave Pedretti a career record of 840-620, good for fifth all time on the California community college baseball coach’s wins list. He led Merced College to the playoffs 22 times, capturing five conference titles along the way and was named the Northern California Coach of the Year in 2009.
“I’m excited to still be involved and the fact that Nate still wants me around feels good,” Pedretti said. “Nate has a way different personality than I do and I think he’ll interject that personality into the team. Teams tend to reflect the personality of their coach, so I think it’s going to be fun to watch as that develops.”