Joe French begins his fourth year as head coach of the Retrievers after suffering his only losing season since going 11-13 at Mansfield University in 1988. After producing back-to-back 40-win seasons during his first two years at UMBC, the team finished with a 27-34 record in 2004.
French, who has been a mentor at every level including junior college, Division III, and Division II, has also coached women's basketball and tennis. As head coach, he has advanced an incredible 20 out of 26 teams to post-season play, helping his career records to stand at 328-186 (.638) in eleven years of softball, 205-162 (.524) in 14 years of basketball, and 7-3 (.700) in one year of tennis. As a college coach in all sports, he has posted 540 wins and 351 losses for a .606 percentage.
French has been working in college athletics, physical education, and recreational sports since 1977, while coaching since 1982. Over the past 23 years, French's softball and basketball teams have been ranked both regionally and nationally. In addition, his players have received All-American, All-Region, All-ECAC, and All-Conference honors. "UMBC is the culmination of over two decades of hard work and success," French said. "My lifelong dream was fulfilled when I was chosen to become head coach at the Division I level."
French's teams and players have also been ranked nationally in numerous NCAA categories, giving him the reputation of being one of the best hitting coaches on the east coast. A strong believer of bat speed, line drive power and emphasizing hitting to all fields, his 2002 and 2003 UMBC teams alone were ranked among the best in the nation.
French received his Bachelor's degree from SUNY-Brockport in 1977 and his Master's in Recreation from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1984. The Waterloo, N.Y. native also received an associate's degree from Monroe CC in 1975. He currently resides in Annapolis with his wife, Cathy, and their sons, Dominic (10), and Angelo (8).