Mel Gardner

Class of


For over 40 years, Mel Gardner has played a prominent role in Delaware high school baseball, as head coach at William Penn High School for three decades, and behind the scenes as a leader in the
sport both locally and nationally. In his 30 years at William Penn, the Colonials compiled a record of 370-208, including a state title in 1991, making Gardner only the fourth coach to reach 300
victories. Two of his players, Cliff Brumbaugh and Brett Oberholtzer, reached the Major Leagues, along with seven other players who played in the minors. He was named Blue Hen Conference Coach of the
Year nine times and in 2006 was named the District 2 (Mid-Atlantic) Coach of the Year by the ABCA. His teams were recipients of the state sportsmanship award – selected by the Umpires Association –
three times and were also heavily involved with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. Mel has headed the Delaware Baseball Coaches Association for many years, establishing and organizing the
All-State selection process, the Blue-Gold All- Star game selection process, and pre-season All-State teams. In addition, he has managed finances, arranged all-star games, tournament schedules,
chaired the committee to choose the DBCA Hall of Fame class, heightened communication among coaches, led fundraising for Carpenter Cup teams, and maintains an authoritative, detailed website about
Delaware High School baseball past and present. He is a long-time member of the state tournament committee – helping to organize seeding, assigning personnel, and publicizing results – and served as
chairperson for four years. After years of service on the National High School Baseball Association, he was elected to its executive board and later became their president. He gave clinics at their
conventions and contributed articles to their website. Every year he has gathered and circulated statistics to see that Delaware players are recognized on both the regional and national levels. Mel
earned induction into the Delaware High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2008), the National High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2014), and the William Penn High
School Hall of Fame (2015).



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