Wharton reaches 400 win milestone at Richland College

Not too many college baseball coaches can say they have won 400 games.

Not too many college baseball coaches can say they have won 400 games in 10 ½ seasons.

Well, Richland College baseball coach Joe Wharton can say he has done both, having hit the milestone on March 15 when the T-Ducks beat North Lake College, 6-1.

“From a personal standpoint, it was very special. Every time you reach a century number it’s neat,” said Wharton, a Dallas native.  “It’s neat that they have all been here at Richland. I’m proud of that but you can’t do it without my players and they deserve all of the credit.”

While building a powerhouse at Richland, Wharton’s T-Ducks won three straight National Junior College Athletic Association Division III championships from 2002-2004 and his teams have averaged around 40 wins a season.

Wharton has also been named District C Coach of the Year by the NJCAA and Regional Coach of the Year by Diamond Sports in 1999 and from 2000- 2005, while being named NJCAA National Coach of the Year from 2002-2004.

As for the players who Wharton has praised in helping him reach 400 wins, he’s coached around 10 who are playing at the professional level.

Meanwhile, every year many of his players move on to play at higher college or university levels.

“We have done this in a little over 10 years since I took over,” Wharton said. “Being a non-scholarship college and playing a good [NJCAA] Division I non-conference schedule, I think it shows what kind of talent we have here and I want to try to continue our success.”

Wharton played college baseball at Lubbock Christian University and Baylor University before he was drafted in 1993 by the New York Yankees in the 18th round of the Major League Baseball draft.

He played in the minor leagues before elbow problems ended his career in 1995.