BASEBALL — Mike Napoleon struck out on his first two swings at career victory No. 700, but the New Trier coach finally connected with history last week after the Trevians earned a 9-7 victory over Maine South in Park Ridge.
Napoleon became the latest Chicago-area coach to reach the milestone as Simeon’s Leroy Franklin also won his 700th career game last week.
“I got to believe I got there pretty quick, and you don’t do that without great teams, great programs, great assistants and great players,” said Napoleon, who’s in his 26th season as a head coach. “I’ve been blessed.”
New Trier entered this week 19-9 overall and 10-4 in the CSL South. Glenbrook South clinched the conference championship last week.
The St. Patrick graduate got his first head coaching job at Notre Dame in 1984. He later moved to Providence before arriving at New Trier in 1996. His first baseball season for the Trevians was in 1997.
Napoleon coached New Trier to its only two state titles, one in 2000 and the other in 2009. The Trevians also finished second twice under his leadership.
Since joining the Winnetka program, Napoleon’s 419-103-1 with 10 CSL South titles, 10 regional titles and seven sectional titles. He was inducted into the IHSBCA Hall of Fame in 2000.
Charlie Tilson has known Napoleon since before high school and has played varsity ball for three seasons. The senior center fielder started on the 2009 title team as a sophomore.
“I didn’t know the game like I thought until I played for him,” said the University of Illinois-bound player and pro prospect. “He’s the No. 1 reason why New Trier’s had so much success. As long as he’s there, New Trier will have lots of success.”