By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Sep 25, 2006 at 5:31 PM
Jerry Augustine, the former Brewers pitcher who guided the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball program for the past 12 years, resigned from the post today and will be replaced by his assistant, Scott Doffek.

"This move should provide a seamless transition for our baseball program," athletic director Bud Haidet said in a statement. "Scott and Jerry have worked hard together to take our program to a high level, and I have no doubt that progress will continue. Jerry's accomplishments have been tremendous, and he has clearly meant a lot to this program. We will miss him, but at the same time Scott is in a great position to keep things moving in the same positive direction."

Augustine and Doffek have worked hand-in-hand in helping the Milwaukee baseball program consistently field one of the top mid-major teams in the
country. They have been together for some of the greatest moments in program history, including three trips to the NCAA Tournament and a victory over then-No. 1 Rice in the 1999 postseason. They have helped the team rewrite the Panther record book, resetting every offensive record and establishing school marks for wins and winning percentage multiple times.

"I feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity," Doffek said. "The great thing is that I am coming into a position I'm very familiar with, especially when it comes to the day-to-day duties of all baseball operations. This roster is filled with players I have been working with all along and the guys know the way I work and what I expect of them. At the same time, I know how they work and what they expect from us. I see it as a very smooth transition."

Doffek has been a mainstay in the Milwaukee baseball program, having just finished his 12th season on the bench in 2006. He has helped the team reach
unprecedented levels, including an offense that ranked second in the nation in 2001. In addition, nine players have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft under his tenure. Before joining the coaching staff, Doffek spent five seasons (1989-'93) in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system, making it to the Class AAA level with the Albuquerque Dukes.

In college, he played baseball at Waukesha County Community College, where he won the NJCAA batting title after hitting .539 as a sophomore. He was
honored as an all-region and all-conference selection.

Augustine has spent the past 12 years as the head coach at UWM with Doffek at his side as the assistant head coach, running the day-to-day operations of the program. Augustine's head coaching record of 347-297-1 give him the most victories by any coach in Milwaukee's Division I athletics history. He won 30 or more games six times while collecting three league coach of the year awards and five conference regular season or tournament championships.

But Augustine, who also runs his own full-time insurance business, found the amount of time he could commit to the program wasn't what he wanted it to be to take things to the next level.

"I still love to coach and haven't lost any of my fight or zest for it," Augustine said. "I would love to continue, but I have been thinking about it for a while and it is just time. The timing is perfect to make the change. It is very difficult for me to make the program what I want it to be when I am not there all the time."

The timing is also right, Augustine says, because of the person who will take over the reigns.

"Scott is one of the best baseball people that I know," Augustine said. "He deserves to have the program in a position where he can make all of the choices and it's actually `his' program."

"I have always considered our relationship a great one," Doffek said of his work with Augustine. "He has always given me a long rope on how I wanted to do things. For years I have been able to work with the program day-to-day without stepping on his toes. He has been unbelievable in that respect. I think we have a mutual respect for each other and that is what made it work. He is a great guy with tremendous love for the game and giving kids an opportunity to do something special. My family and I will be forever indebted to Jerry for giving me the opportunities he has given me."

In the 25-year history of the varsity baseball program before Augustine's arrival, the program had just two winning seasons and won 20 or more games twice. In his first season in 1995, Augustine went 21-24 and then improved UWM's win total in each of the next four years, setting a new school mark for victories each time. That record peaked in 2001, when the Panthers won 39 games.

"He took a team that wasn't doing much and made it into a very competitive and successful program," Doffek said. "He has been the face of this program for a long time. We all thank him for what he has done."

"I still have a lot of love for the program and will always have a lot of respect for UWM," Augustine said. "And, you never know - I will still attend the games and may just pop up somewhere."

His final season in 2006 was a memorable one, with outfielder Mike Goetz leading the nation with a .493 batting average en route to earning First Team All-American honors. The team went 32-25 overall, UWM's first 30-win season since 2002. Goetz (drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers) and Joe Nowicki (signed by the Baltimore Orioles) added to the list of Panthers playing in the pros under Augustine and Doffek -- a list that is now nearing 30 players.

Now, Doffek faces the challenges of being in charge in 2007 while fielding what will likely be a very young team. 

"This coming season will be a very challenging one for us," Doffek said. "Losing 10 seniors who were all big contributors and having the toughest schedule this program has ever had doesn't give us much time to rest on our past accomplishments. Every team in the Horizon League has raised the bar and made every weekend a major dogfight. Along with my coaching staff of Cory Bigler, Dean Haase and Mike Hart, I look forward to getting back in the ring."