There is no greater authority on building a championship program than Stanley "Skip" Bertman, the head coach at Louisiana State University. Bertman has established at LSU an unparalleled legacy of excellence, leading the Fighting Tigers to five NCAA College World Series championships (1991, '93, '96, '97, '00) in the last 10 years. Not since Southern California won five straight national titles in the early 1970s has one program achieved the level of supremacy LSU has attained in the last decade.
In a Baseball America poll released in January, 1999, Bertman was voted the second greatest college baseball coach of the 20th century, trailing only Rod Dedeaux of Southern California. LSU was voted No. 3 in a poll of the greatest college baseball programs of the century.
The 2001 season marks the 18th and final year for Bertman as LSU's head baseball coach. However, he will continue to serve the university in a more comprehensive capacity, as he was named LSU's athletic director on January 19, 2001. Bertman will serve both as athletic director and head coach during the 2001 baseball season before assuming the full-time role as A.D. this July. Bertman succeeds Joe Dean, who completed his 14-year term as athletic director on Dec. 31, 2000.
An unyielding desire to succeed has driven Bertman to the pinnacle of his profession. His astute knowledge of the game, obtained from over 40 years of coaching, combined with his steadfast determination and irrepressible enthusiasm have transformed LSU baseball into the nation's premier program. Those same attributes helped Bertman as the head coach of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, as he led Team USA to a bronze medal in Atlanta.
Bertman, 62, LSU's all-time winningest coach, has guided the Tigers to a 826-308-2 (.727) record in his 17-year tenure, including the 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2000 NCAA titles, 11 College World Series appearances in the last 15 years and Southeastern Conference championships in 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997. He has the third-highest all-time winning percentage among active NCAA Division I coaches, and he has been named National Coach of the Year on six occasions: 2000, 1997, 1996, 1993, 1991 and 1986.
LSU is one of only three schools to win five NCAA championships, and the Tigers are one of only nine teams to have made 11 College World Series appearances. Bertman and Southern California's Rod Dedeaux are the only coaches to win five CWS titles, and LSU (1990s) and Southern California (1970s) are the only schools to win four championships in one decade.
The LSU coach has mastered the art of winning big games. Witness the fact that Bertman has guided the Tigers to a 20-1 record in championship games in NCAA post-season play. That mark includes all NCAA Regional, NCAA Super Regional and College World Series championship contests. Bertman has also directed LSU to the highest all-time NCAA Tournament winning percentage with a 86-28 (.754) record.
Bertman directed LSU to its fifth national title in 2000, as the Tigers recorded a 52-17 mark, including a perfect 13-0 post-season record. LSU won the SEC Tournament with four straight wins, and the Tigers raced to a 9-0 mark in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers captured the national title with a thrilling 6-5 win over Stanford in the CWS championship game, as LSU scored four runs in the last two innings to overcome a 5-2 deficit. Catcher Brad Cresse's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning drove home shortstop Ryan Theriot with the winning run. LSU became only the third school in NCAA baseball history to win five national championships, joining Southern California and Arizona State.
LSU's road to the NCAA crown was arguably the most difficult in CWS history, as the Tigers had to defeat perennial powers Texas (28 CWS appearances), Southern California (20), Florida State (18) and Stanford (12) in order to claim the national championship.
The 2000 squad was Bertman's most productive offensive team, setting a school record for team batting average with a .340 mark. The Tigers also established Southeastern Conference records for hits (864) and doubles (194). For the fifth time, Bertman was voted National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball magazine.
The 1999 Tigers advanced to the NCAA Super Regional, where LSU was eliminated from post-season competition by Alabama. The loss prevented the Tigers from reaching the College World Series for the first time since 1995. LSU finished with a 41-24-1 overall mark, and the Tigers placed third in the Southeastern Conference with an 18-11-1 league record. LSU was ranked No. 14 in the final Collegiate Baseball magazine poll.
The 1998 Tigers placed third at the College World Series, completing the season with a 48-19 record. LSU captured its sixth SEC Western Division title in seven seasons; however, the Tigers finished one-half game behind Florida in the overall league race. After sweeping through the NCAA South II Regional with four straight wins, the Tigers defeated Southern California and Mississippi State in their first two CWS games. LSU needed just one more win to reach the national championship game for the third straight year, but USC posted back-to-back victories over the Tigers, and the Trojans went on to capture the CWS title.
The '98 Tigers led the nation in home runs with 157, and they recorded the SEC's best ERA (4.39). The season was also highlighted by the exploits of all-America first baseman Eddy Furniss, who was presented the Dick Howser Award as the nation's most outstanding college baseball player.
In 1997, Bertman guided LSU to its fourth NCAA title of the 1990s, as the Tigers defeated Alabama, 13-6, in the College World Series final. LSU became the first school to win back-to-back national championships since Stanford accomplished the feat in 1987-88. The Tigers launched an NCAA-record 188 home runs during the season en route to the CWS crown.
Bertman was named the 1997 National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball magazine, becoming the first coach to win the magazine's award four times. The '97 Tigers finished with a 57-13 record, establishing the Southeastern Conference mark for most single-season victories. The Tigers also claimed LSU's sixth SEC championship of the '90s and the school's sixth 50-win season of the decade.
In 1996, Bertman directed the Tigers to their third national championship in six seasons, as LSU defeated Miami (Fla.), 9-8, in the College World Series title game on a two-out, two-run homer by second baseman Warren Morris in the bottom of the ninth inning. It marked the first time in the 50-year history of the CWS that the national championship was decided on a homer in the bottom of the ninth.
With the dramatic CWS victory, LSU became just the seventh school to win three or more NCAA baseball titles, and Bertman became only the sixth coach to win three or more national championships. Bertman was named the 1996 National Coach of the Year by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association.
The '96 Tigers finished with a 52-15 mark, including eight straight victories in the NCAA Tournament (regional and CWS combined) to end the season. LSU also won its fifth Southeastern Conference title in seven years, as the Tigers shared the league crown with Florida and Alabama. LSU posted a 50-win season for the sixth time in eight years and for the seventh time in Bertman's tenure.
As the head coach of Team USA in the summers of 1995 and 1996, Bertman directed the Americans to an incredible 71-11 record, culminating his tenure with a victory over Nicaragua for the 1996 Olympic bronze medal.
Bertman led the 1995 LSU squad to a 47-18 overall mark (17-12 in the SEC) and a third place finish in the NCAA South Regional tournament at LSU's Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers also finished as runners-up in the SEC Western Division Tournament at Starkville, Miss. LSU played host to an NCAA regional for the sixth straight season and for the seventh time in 10 years.
In 1994, LSU became the first defending national champion to return to the CWS since Stanford accomplished the feat in 1988. The '94 Tigers posted a 46-20 overall mark and captured the SEC Western Division championship for the third consecutive year. LSU also won its third straight SEC tournament title and, with four straight wins in the NCAA South Regional, advanced to the College World Series. For the first time in the Tigers' seven CWS appearances, LSU -- with losses to Florida State and Cal State-Fullerton -- was eliminated in two games.
The '94 squad featured second baseman Todd Walker, who became the SEC's all-time leader in hits, runs, RBI and total bases, and shortstop Russ Johnson, named the SEC Player of the Year after batting .410 with 17 homers and 74 RBI.
Bertman directed LSU to its second national title in three years in 1993 as the Tigers defeated Wichita State, 8-0, in the College World Series final. LSU also became the first team in Southeastern Conference history to win four straight league titles -- with an 18-8-1 SEC mark -- and with a final overall record of 53-17-1, the Tigers became the only squad in the country to post a 50-win season each year since 1989. The 1993 Tigers claimed the SEC Western Division Tournament title, and Bertman earned SEC Coach of the Year honors for the fifth time (1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993) in 10 seasons.
Bertman guided LSU to its third consecutive regular-season SEC crown in 1992 as the Tigers became the first league team in 50 years to capture three straight titles. LSU registered a 50-16 record, reaching the 50-win mark for the fourth straight year. The Tigers also captured the 1992 SEC Tournament championship. LSU played host to the 1992 NCAA South I Regional where the Tigers were eliminated in the semi-final round by Cal State-Fullerton.
Bertman steered the 1991 Tigers -- LSU's first national championship team -- to the College World Series for the third consecutive season and for the fifth time in six years. Along the way, LSU captured its second straight SEC regular-season title and the NCAA South Regional crown. The Tigers posted a 55-18 overall mark - 19-7 in the SEC - and earned their CWS berth by sweeping four straight games in the South Regional at Baton Rouge.
The '91 Tigers also recorded four straight wins at the College World Series, including a 6-3 victory over Wichita State in the CWS final. The Tigers outscored their four CWS opponents, 48-15, and set or tied CWS team records for home runs (9), runs per game (12), slugging percentage (.603) and fielding percentage (.993).
LSU's 1991 squad became the first team since 1982 to win the national title without a loss in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers assaulted the CWS field in Omaha, Neb., with a .329 (48 for-146) team batting average.
In 1990, Bertman earned SEC Coach of the Year honors as he led the Tigers to the College World Series for the second consecutive season and for the fourth time in five years. En route to the CWS, LSU captured the SEC regular-season title, the SEC Tournament co-championship and the NCAA South I Regional crown. The Tigers posted a 54-19 regular-season mark -- 20-7 in the SEC -- and earned their CWS berth by winning two of three thrilling one-run games against Southern California in the South I Regional at Baton Rouge. LSU went 2-2 in the CWS at Omaha, Neb., and finished in a tie for third.
In 1989, Bertman directed the Tigers to their third College World Series appearance in four years as LSU tied a school record for wins with a 55-17 mark. The Tigers, who placed second in the SEC with an 18-9 league record, advanced to the CWS by sweeping two games from top ranked Texas A&M in the NCAA Central Regional at College Station, Texas.
The 1989 season was highlighted by the performance of Golden Spikes Award-winning pitcher Ben McDonald, the consensus College Player of the Year and the No. 1 choice in the major league's free-agent amateur draft.
Though the Tigers failed to reach the NCAA playoffs for the first time in four years in 1988, Bertman directed LSU to a 39-21 record in a campaign highlighted by the naming of McDonald as a first-team All-America, the first time an LSU player had been so honored since 1974.
The 1987 season was highlighted by the Tigers' trip to the College World Series, marking the first time a SEC team made back-to-back appearances in the CWS. LSU's 2-2 record in the summer classic earned the Tigers a fourth-place national finish -- their highest at the time.
Bertman fielded one of LSU's most talented teams in 1986. The Tigers ended the season with a 55-14 mark and were rated the nation's No. 1 team for much of the regular season, a first for LSU baseball. After winning the SEC regular-season title with a league-record 22 wins, LSU breezed through the conference tournament -- held in Baton Rouge -- and claimed its first overall SEC championship in 11 years.
The '86 Tigers proceeded to go undefeated in the NCAA South I Regional, also held in Alex Box Stadium, to advance to the College World Series for the first time in school history. LSU's 1985 squad recorded a 41-18 finish, the best in school history at the time. LSU's SEC West crown and its berth in the NCAA Tournament were the school's first in 10 years.
LSU began to win immediately in Bertman's first season of 1984, as the Tigers posted a 32-23 record -- the school's best in four years -- and a surprising third-place showing in the tough SEC Western Division.
LSU took the first crucial step toward college baseball prominence, when in the spring of 1983 it hired Bertman to pump new lifeblood into the program. He had previously earned stellar recognition as one of the nation's brightest assistant coaches while at the University of Miami (Fla.) for eight seasons (1976-83).
Bertman was known as the "best assistant coach in college baseball" while a member of Ron Fraser's staff at Miami. Bertman brought to LSU the same brand of exciting, winning baseball that he helped install at UM.
Even before he worked at Miami, Bertman was renowned for his coaching excellence. In 11 seasons at Miami Beach High School, he directed the Hi-Tides to a state championship and two runners-up finishes. He was named Florida's Coach of the Year on three occasions.
Bertman left Miami Beach High School in 1974 to author the book, Coaching Youth League Baseball, funding the project out of his own resources. The book has become required reading for youth league coaches around the nation and in many foreign countries.
In 1975, Bertman went back to coaching at Miami-Dade Downtown, leaving after one season to join Fraser at Miami. The move was a homecoming of sorts, as Bertman spent his collegiate playing days with the Hurricanes as an outfielder and catcher from 1958-60. He earned his B.A. in health and physical education from Miami in 1961 and received his master's degree from UM in 1964.
Bertman and his wife Sandy are the parents of four daughters -- Jan, Jodi, Lisa and Lori. The Bertmans have two grandchildren -- Sophie Faith and Issac Stanley, the children of Emile and Lori Bertman Guirard.