Bobby Valentine assumed the role of executive director of athletics at Sacred Heart University in June 2013, succeeding C. Donald Cook, who retired after 20 years in the position.
Valentine has helped to raise the visibility of Pioneer athletics over his tenure, with appearances on ESPN, SNY and other national and regional media outlets. Since his arrival on campus he has spearheaded numerous projects to better Pioneer Athletics, including the hiring of the program’s first-ever strength and conditioning coach, the construction of a brand new Student-Athlete Enhancement Center and the addition of women’s rugby to varsity status. In support of the new strength and conditioning coach, Valentine directed a $150,000 renovation of the weight room with state-of-the-art Hammer Strength equipment for use by varsity athletes and the general student population.
Under his watch, Valentine has overseen the replacement of the playing surface on Campus Field, as well as its surrounding track. The lobby of the Pitt Center boasts a brand new look, with a trophy case containing the numerous trophies the Pioneers have won over the years, and new athletic branding. The basketball court, named in Dave Bike’s honor in February 2014, as well as the Pioneer tennis courts and Pitt Center lobby have been rebranded as well. The football team received a locker room renovation preceding the 2014 campaign, and this summer both the men’s and women’s lacrosse locker rooms are getting a facelift.
In addition, the Pioneers have seen success in the athletic realm during Valentine’s tenure. SHU won its NEC-best eighth Joan Martin Commissioner’s Cup for excellence in women’s athletics in 2015. The Pioneers have captured 13 conference championships since he has taken the helm. Programs have garnered national acclaim in that time, with the football team finishing the 2014 season nationally ranked, and the fencing squad finishing 11th in the NCAA at the 2014 championship.
Valentine is a Connecticut native, growing up in Stamford where he was the only three-time All-State football player in state history at Rippowam High School. One of the best athletes from Connecticut of the 20th century, as voted by Sports Illustrated, he planned on pursuing a college football career at USC, but was selected fifth in the first round of the 1968 amateur baseball draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Valentine made his MLB debut September 2, 1969, versus the New York Mets, a club he would go on to manage.
All told, Valentine spent 10 seasons in the major leagues, playing for the Dodgers, San Diego Padres, California Angels, Mets and Seattle Mariners. He appeared in 639 games and hit .260 over the course of his career. Valentine played every position on the field, except pitcher, during his career, showing versatility that has served him well since his final appearance in the show on September 30, 1979.
After his playing career, Valentine remained in baseball as a third-base coach for the Mets. He made his major league managerial debut in 1985 with the Texas Rangers, earning UPI American League Manager of the Year honors in 1986 and went onto become the winningest manager in Rangers history. Valentine took over the Mets in 1996 and led the squad to back-to-back postseasons, including a 2000 World Series appearance. Including a season at the helm of the Boston Red Sox in 2012, Valentine has 1,186 major league managerial victories under his belt.
In 1994, Valentine became the first American to accept a management position in the Pacific League of Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines. He returned to the states after a two-year stint, but went back to lead the Marines again from 2004-09, a tenure that included a 2005 Japan Series Championship.
Valentine also has experience in the broadcast booth. He can be found on the sets of SNY, covering the New York Mets, and MLB Network, as an expert voice on the state of the game today. Valentine was part of the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball announcing team, with Orel Hershiser and Dan Shulman. He also serves as NBC’s senior baseball analyst.
He has seen success in the business arena as well. Since 1980, he has owned and operated Bobby Valentine’s Sports Gallery Cafe, a sports bar that is located in his hometown of Stamford. In January 2014, he opened a franchise in Windsor Locks in partnership with Sportech Venues, Inc. There is also a franchise in Arlington, Tx.
Valentine co-founded the Shin Taku Juko School in Japan. The University of Southern California Business School has created a curriculum for Shin Taku Juko, which teaches values to parents and their children. The school also offers a stay-abroad program for children who lost their parents in the tsunami that devastated Japan.
In 2010, Valentine started the production company, Makuhari Media, with producing partner Andrew J. Muscato. The company produces sports-themed documentaries. Recent productions include Schooled: The Price of College Sports, Branca’s Pitch and Ballplayer: Pelotero. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Steel Sports and is the owner of the Bobby Valentine Sports Academy.
In 2011, Mayor Michael Pavia named Valentine director of Public Safety for the city of Stamford. Valentine was paid a token $10,000 salary for this position, which he pledged to donate to city charities. Valentine left the position 11 months later to manage the Red Sox.
In addition to his easy smile and charismatic personality, Valentine is also known for his philanthropy. He first became involved in charity as student council president of Rippowam High School in Stamford, following in the footsteps of his parents, Joseph and Grace. Valentine helped to found the Mickey Lione, Jr., Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to Stamford sophomores who excel off the field and exemplify the values that Lione instilled in his athletes and students.
It would be impossible to enumerate the many examples of his generosity, but one that stands out is his response to 9/11, when he worked relentlessly commanding an emergency staging area at Shea Stadium. He also visited a Queens firehouse that lost 19 members during the tragedy and has reached out to numerous children who lost a parent that day. He won the 2002 Branch Rickey Award for his donations and personal work with survivors of the September 11 attacks and was awarded the key to the city by the mayor.
Valentine is married to Mary Branca, the daughter of former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, and they have a son, Bobby Jr.
- Branch Rickey Award, 2002
- Lifetime achievement Award, 2001, Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation
- Man of the Year, Grand Marshall, Columbus Day Parade, 2002
- Publisher Award, 2002
- All American Football, 1967
- The Matsutaro Shoriki Award, 2006 (Valentine is the only American to ever receive this award)
- International Sports Business Prize, 2009, Western New England College
- Humanitarian of the Year Award, 2001
- Armenian-American Sports Hall of Fame
- Italian-American National Hall of Fame
- CT and Fairfield County Hall of Fame
- Citizen of the Year, Stamford, CT, 2011
- MS (multiple sclerosis) National Man of the Year Award, 1997
- American Cancer Society, Man of the Year, 1999
- Japanese Society Humanitarian Award, 2011
- Boy and Girl Scouts of America Man of the Year, 2007
- Lifetime Achievement Award, 2011, Hearts of the Community, Good Samaritan of Stamford
- March of Dimes, Man of the Year, 2002
- NY Chapter Arthritis Foundation, Man of the Year, 1999
- Connecticut Gold Key Award from Connecticut Sports Writers Association
- Dallas Sports Writers Association Award
- New Jersey Sports Writers Association Award
- New York Sports Writers Association Good Guy Award
- UPI Manager of the Year, 1986
- New Jersey Sports Writers Association Manager of the Year, 1997
- Thurman Munson Award, 2001
- Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame, 2006
- 2014 American Legion Alumni of the Year Award
- 2014 – 2015 Honorary Chairman of the CT Challenge Cancer Center in Southport, CT benefitting cancer patients
- 2015 American Cancer Society of Fairfield County Man of the Year
- 2015 Recipient of the Tommy Lasorda Award and Latino Hall of Fame