Mike Metheny had numerous honors during his illustrious coaching career.
National Coach of the Year, check. NAIA Hall of Fame, check. Southeastern Hall of Fame, check. All-time NCAA Division II coaching victories, check.
Officially retired, Metheny joins only two other men with possibly his greatest honor on Saturday when Southeastern retires the legendary #1 jersey that nobody other than he wore for nearly five decades. The only other two baseball numbers retired are that of his mentor Don “Doc” Parham, who guided the baseball program before becoming athletic director, and SE alum Brett Butler, who went on to an All-Star career in Major League Baseball.
The university will make the official presentation during Saturday’s 2 p.m. football season finale against East Central at Paul Laird Field with a reception to follow during the women’s basketball game at Bloomer Sullivan Arena that evening.
“It’s quite an honor and very special,” Metheny said earlier this week. “I wore that #1 uniform for 47 years which kind of boggles the mind. I imagined wearing it that long but we found a great place that is truly special to both me and my family. We have great memories that we will cherish forever.”
Metheny retired from coaching after the 2017 spring campaign, his 37th season at the helm of the program and left the game as the Division II leader in all-time victories.
He finishes his storied career with 1,324 career victories and a career winning percentage over .660, averaging just over 35 wins per season.
“To have this uniform retired and hanging with Southeastern’s greats is humbling and overwhelming,” he stated. “Words cannot possibly begin to express my appreciation to Southeastern. For allowing me to be associated with this University and one of the top baseball programs in America for 47 years.
“It has been my pleasure to be associated with our Southeastern family. The closeness and camaraderie of our athletic department has been top notch through the years and I could not have asked for a better working relationship with my peers. My family and I will be forever grateful and continue to be strong supporters of Southeastern.”
Metheny is ranked among the top 20 on the all-time wins list regardless of division, climbing to 19th on the list just behind Larry Cochell who has 1,331 after finishing his career in 2005 as the head coach at Oklahoma.
As far as victories at just one school, Metheny ranks eighth behind all-time leader Rod Dedeaux who spent 44 seasons at Southern California.
His connection with Southeastern has spanned more than 40 years from his beginnings as a player, through being a graduate assistant, an assistant coach and ultimately taking over as the head coach for the 1981 season.
Metheny guided the SE baseball program through its successful transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, and in just the second season at the D-II level he led his squad to the NCAA Division II World Series in Montgomery, Ala., and on June 3, 2000, Southeastern earned its first National Championship.
That title earned him the 2000 National Coach of the Year honor at the American Baseball Coaches Convention. While a member of the NAIA, his teams made seven trips to the NAIA World Series and earned three runner-up finishes.
His teams claimed 15 conference championships and he has earned conference coach of the year honors nine times and regional coach of the year seven times.
He coached 54 players who have signed professional contracts and has guided 35 players to a total of 42 All-American honors.
He was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in January 1999 and the Southeastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.
Southeastern Sports Information Director Matt Thomas contributed to this story.