Eugene S. Domzalski

Category
2023
About This Inductee

An all-around student-athlete and 1956 graduate of Newport Township High School, Gene was a member of the 1954 Wyoming Valley Conference championship team in baseball. In addition, he was selected to play in the 1956 Eastern Pennsylvania American Legion All-Star game at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.

Shortly thereafter, Gene accepted a full NCAA I football scholarship to the University of Wyoming where he played as a sophomore halfback in 1957 for NCAA Division I College Football Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney.

Gene was held out of Spring 1958 football practice to rehab a knee injury which provided the opportunity to play baseball for the Cowboys.  A successful baseball season in which he led the team in total hits led to an offer to play summer baseball in 1958 for Yankton, South Dakota, in the NCAA approved independent Basin League.

Upon returning home to Pennsylvania in mid-August before going back to Wyoming for the 1958 football season, Gene was invited to a pre-game workout with the New York Yankees before their game with Cleveland at Yankee Stadium.  Shortly thereafter Gene signed a $15,000 bonus contract at the Hotel Sterling in Wilkes-Barre which ended his college football career.

In the Spring of 1959, he began his professional career with the St. Petersburg Saints in Florida and followed that season with a six-month U.S. Army Reserves required tour of duty at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Gene then continued his Yankees stint with affiliates at Auburn, NY., Binghamton NY., Greensboro NC., Amarillo, TX., Augusta GA., and Fort Lauderdale, FL.

During his professional tenure, Gene was an All-Star selection in 1960 at Auburn in the NY-Penn League where he won the RBI title with 104.  Also, an All-Star selection with Greensboro of the Carolina League in 1961, and in 1963 with Fort Lauderdale in the Florida State League he led the team in total hits and turned down a Yankee deal with the Chicago White Sox organization to report to an affiliate in Eugene, Oregon.  At the end of his pro baseball career, Gene was under contract with Louisville Slugger, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Topps Chewing Gum.

In the Fall of 1963, the Domzalski family, Gene, his wife Arlene, and their son Ed returned to the University of Wyoming.  Gene would go on to earn his B.S. degree and serve as an Assistant Baseball Coach to World War II hero and pilot, Glenn “Bud” Daniel, and the 1964 Cowboys.

Returning to Northeastern Pennsylvania, Gene was then hired to teach and coach at his alma mater, Newport Township High School.  After two years as basketball coach, he then accepted the position as baseball coach for one year before Newport and Nanticoke schools merged in 1966 to form the Greater Nanticoke Area school district. As baseball coach for the GNA Trojans for two years, the team posted a 32-7 record while winning the Southern Division twice, and the Wyoming Valley Conference and District II title in 1968.

Hired as a faculty member in 1969 and to coach baseball at Wilkes University, Gene and a talented coaching staff molded the team into a national powerhouse in NCAA Division III.  The Colonels baseball team from 1970-78 compiled a 138-42 (.755) overall record and two Middle Atlantic Crowns.  Wilkes finished with winning records in all nine seasons and competed in three NCAA regional appearances from 1976-78. The 1976 team won the NCAA Eastern Regional title and finished fourth in the nation at the NCAA Division III College World Series held in Marietta, Ohio.

Overall, Wilkes University and the Colonels baseball team and individual players were honored at the national and state level with rewards and recognition.