Mike Gottlieb has been associated with the Towson baseball program for nearly four decades. Gottlieb came to Towson as a player, before joining Bill Hunter’s staff as an assistant coach. He took over as the Tigers head coach prior to the 1988 season. Since taking over, Gottlieb has led Towson to 713 victories, three conference tournament championships and three trips to the NCAA Tournament. He has averaged nearly 25 victories per season over his tenure. To put that in perspective, the school-record for victories prior to his arrival was 26. Born: October 24, 1956 (age 61) Lynbrook, New York
The Early Years
Gottlieb made an immediate impact in his first season as head coach, leading the Tigers to their first appearrance in the NCAA Tournament. He guided Towson to a 30-17-1 record, including capturing the East Coast Conference regular season championship with a 12-2 record. The Tigers swept through the ECC Tournament to win their first tournament championship. For his efforts, Gottlieb was selected as the ECC Coach of the Year and NCAA Regional Coach of the Year.
In their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers fell, 3-0, to eventual College World Series participant Miami, before rebounding for a 5-1 victory over VCU. Three years later, Gottlieb led the Tigers to their second ECC Tournament championship and the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers opened the tournament with a loss to Mississippi State before rebounding for a 5-0 victory over Princeton. The victory over Princeton was significant as it marked the 100th victory in Gottlieb’s career. Gottlieb would lead the Tigers to another 30-win season in 1992, their final year in the ECC.
The CAA Era
After a down year in 2004, Gottlieb doubled the team’s win total in a 34-24 season in 2005. The Tigers got better as the season progressed, winning 17 of their final 24 games. The Tigers offense featured an explosive offense that led the country with 105 home runs. The lineup was led by Second-Team All-Americans Jason Maxey (23 home runs) and Casper Wells (17 home runs).
Wells, who is the only Tiger to earn CAA Player of the Year honors, would go on to be drafted in the 14th round by the Detroit Tigers. Shortstop Shane Justis would be selected in the 21st round by the Los Angeles Dodgers, marking the fourth time in the Gottlieb era that two Tigers were drafted in the same draft. The 2005 season also marked the first time the Tigers had reached the championship game of the CAA Tournament. Towson overcame an opening-round loss to knock off regular-season champions UNCW and Delaware on their way to the title game.
Gottlieb is also responsible for recruiting and coaching all eight All-Americans and all three Freshman All-Americans in school history. He has also coached seven Academic All-Americans and 18 Academic All-District honorees. The Tigers have produced at least one all-conference performer in 25-straight years under Gottlieb. That list includes four conference player’s of the year, three defensive player’s of the year, one rookie of the year and 77 all-conference selections.
Gottlieb arrived in Towson after playing two seasons at Nassau Community College. He played first base for two seasons before graduating in 1979. After graduation, Gottlieb remained at Towson as an assistant coach for Bill Hunter. Gottlieb spent seven years as an assistant under Hunter. When Hunter stepped down in 1988 to become the Director of Athletics, Gottlieb was immediately tabbed as his successor. Gottlieb currently resides in the Towson area. Read more
1981–1987: Towson (asst.)
Head coaching record: Overall 733–821–10
Mike Gottlieb (born October 24, 1956) is a former American college baseball coach, serving as head coach of the Towson Tigers baseball program from 1988 to 2017. He was named to that position prior to the start of the 1988 season. Gottlieb played two seasons for Nassau Community College before transferring to Towson. He played first base for the Tigers and graduated in 1980. Read more
Towson Baseball History
Three years ago, he became the first Towson coach to win 500 games when he earned his 500th coaching victory with a win over Mount St. Mary’s on March 12, 2008. Coach Gottlieb led the Tigers to a 30-28 record in 2008 as the team came on strong at the end of the year. After earning the sixth and final berth in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 14-16 record, the Tigers reached the CAA finals where they lost to James Madison, 6-1.
In November of 2002, Coach Gottlieb was honored as the College Coach of the Year by the Middle Atlantic Regional Scouting Bureau. Read more
As their program lay on the edge of oblivion, the Tigers charged ahead, winning the Colonial Athletic Association and earning a berth in the NCAA tournament. The politics surrounding the potential axing of Towson baseball went all the way to Annapolis — and the program received funding to continue for two years.
“For whatever reason, I had a fool’s optimism that things would work out,” Gottlieb said. “I don’t know that I had any reason for that, but that’s how I felt. I never talked to anyone about another college coaching job. I have a couple of friends in the scouting profession, and I said to them that if something was available, could they let me know — but I never actively, once, called someone who had the power to give me a job and asked for one.”
The Tigers will now look to defend their CAA championship title this season. One of the positives for the team is that most of last year’s roster has returned in 2014.
“Every one of our nine starting players returned,” Gottlieb said. “That doesn’t happen very often. We’ve moved a few people around — Zach Fisher’s now behind the plate, and for most of our early games, we’ve had a freshman at third base — but everyone else is a guy who’s been out there already.”
But because of some key injuries on the mound, including Paul Beers and Kevin Ross, the pitching will require some fresh talent to play well in order to stay consistent. Read more
A look beyond the gleaming Towson logo and gem-encrusted baseball diamond on Mike Gottlieb’s 2013 Colonial Athletic Association championship ring reveals a message with deeper meaning. The veteran former head coach had the team’s rings engraved with the phrase “Against All Odds,” a nod to the program’s incredible resilience on and off the field on the way to its first conference title in more than two decades.
On April 1, O’Malley bailed out Towson with a plan to free up $300,000 in state funds to help continue the program. By May 25, the Tigers were CAA champions with a backstory worthy of national headlines. They also won their opener at the Chapel Hill Regional before losing their next two games.
“It’s not like winning World War II, but we fought the good fight,” Gottlieb said.
Now, Towson will move on without Gottlieb. The Tigers hired former Orioles farmhand Matt Tyner for the job June 22. Gottlieb plans to find some way to stay around the game. He’d have to find the right situation to coach in college again, though. Scouting seems a better possibility. Read more