ABCA Hall of Fame member and Louisiana coaching legend Ron Maestri is the distinguished recipient of the 2022 ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award.
Named after the great Lefty Gomez, this annual award is presented to an individual who has contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally and internationally. The Lefty Gomez Award is presented by Wilson Sporting Goods and will be awarded during the Hall of Fame Banquet at the ABCA Convention on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, in Chicago, Illinois. Due to the cancellation of the in-person 2021 ABCA Convention due to COVID-19, 2021 Lefty Gomez Award recipient Jerry Weinstein
will also be honored at this year's Hall of Fame Banquet.
Over 16 seasons and two stints as head coach at the University of New Orleans (1972-85 and 2014-15), Ron Maestri amassed a 543-315-1 (.632) career record while also serving as the university’s Athletics Director from 1979-2000.
In his first stint at UNO, Maestri twice guided the Privateers to the College World Series, first in 1974 while still an NCAA Div. II institution and again in 1984, as New Orleans became the first team from the state of Louisiana to qualify for the NCAA Div. I College World Series. Over 14 seasons, the Privateers combined for a 518-247-1 (.676) under Maestri and his teams would go to make nine NCAA Tournament appearances.
During Maestri’s tenure, 42 different players were drafted and/or signed by professional clubs.
A number of Maestri’s former players have gone on to become head coaches among the high school, college and professional ranks, including a pair of ABCA Hall of Fame coaches in LSU’s Paul Mainieri and longtime Carthage College (Wis.) head coach and winner of the 1982 Golden Spikes Award, Augie Schmidt.
Inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 1991, Maestri is a member of eight Halls of Fame in total. UNO’s Privateer Park, which was built in 1979, was officially renamed Maestri Field and dedicated to the Louisiana coaching legend in February 2002. That same year, the Sun Belt Conference honored Maestri by naming their Coach of the Year award after him.
Maestri also spent eight years as Executive Director and COO of the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs.
A 1963 graduate of Bradley University (Ill.), Maestri initially arrived at New Orleans following four seasons as an assistant baseball coach and football coach for his alma mater. During his time in Peoria, he received bachelor’s degrees in history and health and physical education in 1962 and a master’s degree in education in 1966.
As an undergraduate at Bradley, Maestri was the second baseman on the 1962 Braves’ team that won the Missouri Valley Conference title.
Following graduation, Maestri spent five years in the high school coaching ranks, including stints at Princeville High, Spaulding High and Pekin High – all in the Central Illinois Area.
A 51-year Lifetime ABCA Member, Maestri remains involved with the ABCA, currently serving on the association’s Hall of Fame Committee.
SEE ALSO: List of past ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award honorees