One Era Ends, A New One Begins
The University of Indianapolis Athletic Department saw seismic change in 2018, first with the retirement of Gary Vaught, head coach of the baseball program for the past 24 years, and more recently with the announcement that Bob Bartolomeo, head coach of the football program, would retire after nine years with the Greyhounds and more than 40 total seasons
on the sidelines.
These two coaching giants have set their programs up for continued success with the culture they helped shape. The positive momentum of last year’s successes also carried over into 2019 for all sports. Here are some highlights, both on and off the field, from our Greyhound student athletes and the teams they represent.
NED SHANNON RETIRES AFTER 25 YEARS
Ned Shannon retired from UIndy for a new business venture November 20, 2018, after 25 years of service as UIndy’s Head Athletic Trainer. Shannon worked with all 21 of the University’s sports, including the main athletic trainer for football and wrestling. He was president of the Indiana Athletic Trainers Association from 2004 to 2006; participated as a volunteer athletic trainer for the 2005 and 2006 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and 2001 World Fire and Police Games; and was named 1998 USOC athletic trainer for the Goodwill Games in New York City. Shannon was also a volunteer athletic trainer at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and in that same year participated as a staff athletic trainer at the Games of the XXVI Olympiad in Atlanta, Georgia. He was inducted into the Indiana Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame in 2011.
COACH BARTOLOMEO RETIRES
Football Head Coach Bob Bartolomeo announced his retirement December 4, 2018. During his nine years as the UIndy head man, the Greyhound football program enjoyed its most successful era, compiling a 79-26 overall record, six conference titles and five NCAA playoffs appearances.
“’Coach Bart’ has had an immeasurable effect not only on the UIndy football program, but on UIndy Athletics and the University as a whole,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Sue Willey. “It has been an honor and privilege to work with him over the last 12 years and witness how he transformed the football program into the Division II powerhouse with his integrity and professionalism. Our friendship is invaluable and will always have a special place in my heart. Coach Bart will forever be a Greyhound.”
Since being hired as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2004 and taking over the head job in 2010, Bartolomeo has lifted the UIndy football program to national prominence. The Greyhounds won GLVC championships six times in the last seven seasons, compiling a stellar 49-4 (.925) mark in league play over that span. Five NCAA Division II playoff appearances followed, including first-round wins in 2012 and this past November. The team is currently in the midst of a program-record 24 consecutive weeks of being ranked in the Division II top 25.
“I’ve given my whole life to this great game of football – the last 15 years here at the University of Indianapolis – and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to work under than Dr. Sue Willey,” added Bartolomeo. “She’s been awesome. She’s given our program everything it needs to win, and she’s done it the right way. I’m eternally grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach at this university.
“With that being said, I’m going to announce my retirement from this great game. It’s been fun. We’ve won a lot of games, graduated a lot of kids, most importantly, and that’s something I’m more proud of than the championships, the playoff appearances and all those things.”
Four times voted the GLVC Coach of the Year by his peers, Bartolomeo leaves UIndy as the program’s all-time leader in winning percentage (.752) and third all-time in total wins (79).
With all the success UIndy has enjoyed, Coach Bart leaves the game with many great memories but looks forward to the next chapter.
MEET THE NEW COACH
The Greyhounds looked from within to replace the legendary Coach Bart by promoting longtime assistant Chris Keevers to the head football coaching position. It’s the first NCAA head coaching position for Keevers, an Indianapolis native, but he is extremely familiar with the UIndy program after spending the previous 25 years as an assistant, including the last nine seasons as the Greyhounds’ defensive coordinator. He becomes the 15th coach in program history, following the recent retirement of Bob Bartolomeo.
“I would like to thank [President] Dr. Robert Manuel and [Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics] Dr. Sue Willey for giving me this opportunity,” said Keevers. “I’m excited and honored. I’d also like to thank Bob Bartolomeo. Our 15 years together at UIndy have been a fantastic learning experience for me. The staff and I are excited to get back on the road and continue working on our 2019 recruiting class.”
When asked about his successor, Bartolomeo gladly offered his endorsement.
“I wholeheartedly support Chris Keevers for this job,” said the recently retired coach. “He’s a guy that’s a Greyhound through and through. He’s been here for over 20 years and loves this university, loves this athletics department. He has a lot of respect, a lot of caring, a lot of deep ties with UIndy, and I think he deserves a chance.
“Besides being a loyal guy to this university, he’s a very good football coach. He’s been the architect of our defense the last few years and we’ve been very good on defense; since he took over (the defense), we haven’t missed a beat. I know he gets along with the rest of the staff, and hopefully keeping all those guys intact will be very important to this program. But he’s a very good football coach; a great communicator with the kids and a tenacious recruiter that’s brought some very good football players into this program.”
“When you have a successful head coach like Coach Bart, you put a lot of stock in what he says. And when he says we have the next head coach right here on our staff, well, that certainly spoke volumes to me. We currently have an exceptional group of coaches and we want to keep them together and move this program forward,” said Willey.
GARY VAUGHT RETIRES
After 24 years of service to the University of Indianapolis as the head coach of the baseball program, Gary Vaught is retiring as the most-winningest coach in Greyhound history. Vaught resigns from his post with 808 career victories, two trips to the NCAA Division II Championships, and two GLVC tournament titles.
A two-time conference Coach of the Year, Vaught had 118 players named to the all-GLVC list in his 24 seasons, including four Freshmen of the Year, two Pitchers of the Year, and two GLVC Scholar-Athletes of the Year. The Greyhounds picked up two victories in the team’s first NCAA DII Championship appearance in 2000.
“Everyone talks about family, but it really is a family here,” Vaught said when asked what it meant to be the head coach for 24 years.
Vaught wanted to thank more people than he could remember, but talked about the day he was interviewed, citing the elements as a possible deterrent from leaving the state of Oklahoma.
“Dr. David Huffman and Dr. Kenneth Borden were on the committee when they hired me, and they truly made me feel at home from the beginning. It was the greatest decision of my coaching career to come here.
“I’ve been blessed with a ton of stops in my career. If you stay somewhere for 24 years, you develop memories and friendships. Dr. Sue Willey has been more than a tremendous athletics director; she’s been a great friend.
“Scott Young was my right-hand man when I began 24 years ago. He was not only a great assistant coach, but he’s become such an amazing administrator and great leader for this university.”
It is not the game Vaught is going to miss, at least not the most. It is the relationships that were planted, blossomed, and bloomed after this long that makes him forever grateful and humbled for this opportunity.
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