WMU News

Baseball's Fred Decker to retire after 2004 season

Sept. 6, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Fred Decker, head baseball coach at Western Michigan University, has announced he will retire at the end of the 2004 season, which will mark his 29th season with the program.

Decker, who has been associated with the Broncos as a player and coach for more than 40 years, has won more contests than any other coach in school history, with a career record of 770-678-6. His 394 league wins are the most in Mid-American Conference annals.

"We are sad to see that Coach Decker is choosing to retire," said Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard. "Fred has earned the respect of countless players, coaches and administrators through the years and will truly be missed."

Decker took over the Bronco baseball program in June 1975 after serving eight seasons as an assistant coach under Bill Chambers. In a career that has spanned nearly three decades, Decker has produced 87 major league draft picks, 53 All-MAC First Team performers and 10 All-America selections. During Deckers tenure, Western Michigan has posted a winning record against all MAC schools, as well as every Division I opponent in the state.

His 1982 squad swept 10 consecutive doubleheaders en route to a 20-game winning streak, finishing with a school-record 34 wins and a MAC West Division title. WMU also clinched the 1983 MAC West title under Decker, and in 1989, the Broncos captured the MAC regular season crown, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

With such success, honors have been numerous for Decker. In 1993, he was inducted into the WMU Athletic Hall of Fame and named the W Club Man of the Year. Decker was also named MAC Coach of the Year and Mideast Regional Coach of the Year in 1989.

A Colon, Mich., native, Decker was a two-time All-American outfielder for the Broncos while playing under legendary coach Charlie Maher. He went on to earn a degree in physical education in 1964 and a masters in the same field from WMU. Decker coached two seasons at Portage Central High School before joining Chambers staff in 1967.

"I'm really appreciative of the opportunity to coach the Broncos and for the support the program has received over the years," says Decker. "I will miss interacting with the players the most."

Decker will be honored by family and friends following the Broncos home finale, slated for Sunday, May 16, at Hyames Field. Details regarding the ceremony will be announced at a later date.

The search for Decker's successor will not begin until the 2004 season is completed, says Beauregard.

Media contact: Paula Haughn, 269 387-4138, paula.haughn@wmich.edu

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