Lynchburg, Va. -- Head Coach Percy Abell is entering his 20th season at Lynchburg and has decided it will be his last. "I came to this decision over the past months as I was confronted with health concerns. Although this has not hindered my overall well being, it has given me cause to think about the future. During this time, I pursued and made the decision to transition to full time faculty member in the HPE department of Lynchburg College."
"I want to thank all the players, both current and in the past, that have made the past 20 years so enjoyable for me and my family. Lynchburg Baseball has been a huge part of my life and my family for nearly 30 years. It has been my greatest pleasure seeing the student athletes graduate and become successful men...I want to make it clear, although I am announcing my retirement today, I look forward to and plan on making the 2017 season a great one."
After graduating from LC in 1987, Abell remained with the team for two more years as an assistant coach before taking the head coaching position at William Campbell High School in Naruna, Virginia. He led his 1996 William Campbell team to a 20-4 record and a berth in the Virginia High School League state playoffs and was named Region III Coach of the Year in 1996, District Coach of the Year in 1994 and 1996, and Area Coach of the Year in 1994 and 1996.
During his tenure at LC, the Hornets have been ranked as high as No. 16 and No. 20 in the ABCA Coaches national poll, along with receiving votes numerous times, most recently in 2013. He has coached five All-Americans along with one Academic All-American. He has also mentored 13 All-Region performers and one South Region Player of the Year.
Abell has led the Hornets to nine ODAC tournaments, reaching the championship game three times (2005, 2010, 2012), while guiding LC twice to the NCAA South Regional in 2008 and 2012. He has a career mark of 411-323-2, posting a 194-145-1 mark in conference. Eight former players now have jobs coaching collegiate baseball around the country as assistants or head coaches. "Coach Abell has made a tremendous impact on the lives of the men that have come through his program as well as our department as a whole" said Director of Athletics Jon Waters, " we are sad to lose him on the field day to day, but happy that he will still be able to impact LC students in the classroom as he joins the faculty full time".
The Lynchburg alum led the Hornets to twelve straight 20-plus win seasons from 2001-2012, topped by the 2012 team that went 34-10. That win total of 34 eclipsed the Lynchburg College single season record for wins in a season, and set the single-season ODAC record. Lynchburg captured the ODAC title in 2012 for the first time since 1990 after sweeping its way through the tournament. The success goes beyond 2012 as the 2004 Hornets team was named statistical national champions in the categories of batting average, slugging percentage and runs per game.
The Hornets will look to send Coach Abell off with a special season when they open the 2017 campaign with a doubleheader at Methodist University.
A nationwide search for the next head baseball coach at Lynchburg College will take place following the 2017 season.