University of Connecticut baseball coach Jim Penders ’94 (CLAS), ’98 MS became the all-time winningest coach in program history on Thursday night as the Huskies defeated Tulane by a 8-5 score in New Orleans.
The victory was the 557th of Penders’ 16-year career in charge of Husky baseball. He passed the legendary Andy Baylock, who won 556 games between 1980-2003, and remains on staff today as the Director of Alumni and Community Affairs for the football team.
The Huskies now have a 32-21 record on the season and finish their series with Tulane on Friday and Saturday to end the regular season. The American Athletic Conference tournament is set for next week in Clearwater, Florida.
In the win on Thursday, freshman catcher Pat Winkel of Orange, Connecticut, hit a grand slam home run in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie and give UConn control of the game.
Penders is just the fifth baseball coach at UConn in the last 94 years, joining Sumner Dole (1924-35), J.O. Christian (1936-61), Larry Panciera (1962-79) and Baylock.
Amazingly, Penders was an assistant coach to Baylock when he was named head coach, as Baylock was to Panciera and Panciera to Christian.
Penders has led UConn to NCAA Championship appearances five times in the past nine years, including a trip the Super Regionals in 2011. The Huskies won the American Athletic Conference tournament in 2016 and the Big East tournament in ’13.
Penders was a catcher for the Huskies during his playing career and was an All-Big East and All-New England selection his senior year. Following a stint as a political fundraiser in Washington, D.C., he became an assistant coach at UConn in 1997.
He comes from a proud Husky family as his both his father Jim ’66 (CLAS) and uncle Tom ’67 (CLAS) both played on UConn’s 1965 College World Series team. His father went on to a highly-successful baseball high school coaching career at East Catholic High School in Manchester, Connecticut, while his uncle had a storied college basketball coaching career at seven different schools.