MARION -- The Southern Illinois Miners have announced that Steve Marino will return to Southern Illinois on their coaching staff, replacing Dave Schaub as the team's hitting coach for the 2018 season.
No stranger to Southern Illinois, Marino spent all five of his professional seasons as a player in the Frontier League, the last three of which in a Miners uniform from 2014-16.
"As the only captain in Miners history, Steve embodies what it means to be a Miner," Southern Illinois manager Mike Pinto said. "The respect that Steve received from his teammates came from not only his exceptional work ethic and daily effort, but most-importantly from his ability to communicate with every player and member of the coaching staff.
"He captured the hearts of many of our fans with his spirit as well as his outgoing and friendly personality."
A rock at the hot corner who played in 282 of a possible 288 regular season games at third base, Marino finished his career ranking in the Miners' career top-10 in 12 different statistical categories, including second in games played (282) and RBIs (174), third in at-bats (1,048), doubles (59), homers (30) and extra-base hits (94), and fourth in total hits (278).
Memorably, he clinched the Miners' East Division title in 2015 with a walk-off homer against the Traverse City Beach Bums, and while serving as the team's first-ever captain in 2016, led the team to a third-straight division championship by batting .288 with career-best totals of 23 doubles, 16 home runs and 79 RBIs, taking home both mid-season and postseason all-star honors at third base.
"Steve had success in this league as a player both offensively and defensively, and was recognized throughout the league by players, coaches and umpires for his leadership and professionalism," Pinto added. "I am extremely confident that his experience as a player, his knowledge of our systems, standards and expectations, and his coaching experience last year will help our players and our team in the season ahead. We are very excited to have Steve back with the Miners."
This past season, Marino joined the coaching ranks as an assistant at his alma mater, Stony Brook University in New York, where he worked with the Seawolves' hitters, was in charge of all team stats and data during the season, and also coordinated the team's summer and winter camps and clinics. In addition, he ran and organized Stony Brook's hitting clinics for high school prospects.
"I'd like to send a huge thank-you to (team owners) John and Jayne Simmons, and especially Mike Pinto for the amazing opportunity to begin my professional coaching career with the Miners," Marino said. "I couldn't be more excited to return to such an outstanding organization, the wonderful city of Marion, and to reunite with all the great fans. It will be very special for me to put on the Miners' uniform again and help the team extend its already-rich history of winning baseball.
"I'm very excited and optimistic about the 2018 season," Marino added. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to help develop our returning players, as well as the future additions to the roster.
"I'm confident that my experiences on and off the field as a professional player, and as a college coach last year, will have a positive impact on our players offensively, defensively and in the clubhouse. I can't wait to get to work."