WHEELING - The American Legion Athletic Club President Dave Koehler, sponsors of the Wheeling Post 1 American Legion Baseball Team, announced the unanimous Board selection of Mark Delbrugge as the new head coach.
Delbrugge, 56, of Wheeling, replaces Ricky Szeligo, who served one year as head coach, and inherits the winningest program in the state of West Virginia.
Post 1 has won 14 West Virginia State Championships and dominated the 1980s. It won a state-record seven consecutive state championships from 1982-1988. The other state championships were in 1938, 49, 63, 64, 66, 75 and 1978. Recently Post 1 has won six out of the last seven Area One Championships and have participated in the State Tournament for the last seven years, including playing host to the tournament in 2012.
Delbrugge was a successful high school baseball coach at Wheeling Park High School, where he has taught Special Education for the past 32 years. Delbrugge coached the Patriots from 1981-1990, compiling a record of 149-141. His 1989 team was the first, and still the only Patriots squad to win a regional championship and advance to the state tournament in Charleston, where they were eliminated by Martinsburg in the Class AAA semifinal.
Delbrugge is a member of the West Liberty University Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 2002 after a brilliant career. Delbrugge entered WLSC in 1975 and quickly became a standout member of Coach James Watson's powerhouse baseball teams of the 1970s. A four-year letterman and two-time team captain, Delbrugge helped lead the 'Toppers to three WVIAC championships from 1976-78.
Delbrugge, his wife, Patty, and twin sons, Justin and Jarrett, reside in the Warwood section of Wheeling.
Post 1 will also field a Junior Legion program for kids ages 14-16, and will be guided by Doug Costain of Wheeling.
Costain, 44, has been instrumental in organizing the Wheeling Braves travel team and the highly successful Pinto Challenge Tournament (coach pitch) in Wheeling. Costain has organized fall baseball leagues in Wheeling, and has also consulted with travel teams to help develop their programs.
There will be a sign-up and information meeting at 1 p.m. Sunday at Wheeling Jesuit University for any player (ages 14-19) interested in playing for Wheeling Post 1 this summer. All high school players from Wheeling Park, Wheeling Central, Linsly and Bishop Donahue and college freshmen are eligible. For more information, contact Delbrugge (304) 215-5138 or Doug Costain (304) 639-0001.