SALEM, Mass. -- Salem State baseball coach Ken Perrone has announced that he will retire from head coaching following the conclusion of the 2012 season. Perrone, who is entering his 30th year as the Vikings manager, has led the Salem State baseball program since 1983. Associate head coach Mike Ward has been selected to succeed Perrone and will assume head coaching duties for the 2013 campaign.

Under his leadership for the past twenty-nine years, the Vikings have amassed a record of 643-385-4, which places Perrone among the top 30 coaches all-time for victories in NCAA Division III history. During his tenure, the Salem State baseball team has been selected for postseason tournament play 23 times -- fourteen Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) bids, three NCAA selections, and five Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletics Conference (MASCAC) titles.

Salem State Athletic Director Tim Shea wished to express his gratitude to coach Perrone for his dedication to the university, its students, and all of his former players.

“Ken Perrone has given tremendous time and energy to our program throughout his career at Salem State University.  He has been a champion of the underdog, always willing to give an athlete another chance to make the team or to earn more playing time. Ken’s enthusiasm will be difficult to replicate along with his love of coaching.  I look forward to an exciting and successful 30th year as Ken completes his tenure here.”

Although he has one more year, Perrone is filled with emotion when speaking of the place he has called home for the last three decades.

"Salem State was one of the joys of my life. I spent 30 years and loved going to work there every day. I had great Athletic Directors in John Galaris and Tim Shea and loved working for Presidents James Amsler, Nancy Harrinington,Patricia Maguire-Meservey and Vice President Dr. Stanley Cahill. Salem State to me is like a big wonderful family. I shared so many great times with fellow coaches, secretaries and workmen. Along the way I had great students to work with, and I met so many wonderful families, that I thank God that I could coach until age 77. I still feel great, but I know a part of me will die when I coach my final game in May. I will have coached 30 years at Salem State and 60 baseball seasons overall in addition to 38 football seasons. That makes over 2000 career-games and over 1400 career-wins which are nice numbers to go out on. I thank everyone at Salem State for a life time of great memories and great friendships.”

Perrone grew up in Hamden, Conn. and was a three-sport star in high school. He graduated from the University of Maine in 1959, where he played four years of baseball, and twice was selected all-conference. He began his career in Maine at Dixfield High School in 1960 and guided the football program to a winning record and the baseball team to an undefeated season and a conference championship. A member of several hall of fames, he was inducted into the Massachusetts State High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 1992, the State of Maine All Sports Hall of Fame in 2009, the Southern Connecticut Diamond Club Hall of Fame in 2010, the Greater New Haven Hall of Fame, and The John Baptist High School Hall of Fame in 2011.