SALT LAKE CITY — On Saturday, Utah baseball will conclude its 2021 season with a well-under .500 record for the year.
At 16-31, Utah isn't in contention for a Pac-12 title or a postseason berth. In fact, it's the fourth consecutive losing season for the program since the team won the conference title in 2016.
As a result, the team's long-tenured coach of 18 seasons, Bill Kinneberg, has announced his retirement from Utah. He'll finish out a three-game series against USC this weekend before hanging up a 37-year coaching career.
"Thanks to the Utah baseball fans for their support of me and the student-athletes all of these years," Kinneberg said in a statement. "The support staff within the athletic department are so generous with their time and effort and are such a pleasure to work with. I will miss them all. But, the group I will always be indebted to and miss the most are all the student-athletes who played for me over the years, going back to UTEP, Wyoming, Arizona State, University of Arizona, and the University of Utah.
"They have touched my life in so many ways and given me so many thrills that I will never forget."
Kinneberg coached his 2016 team to the program's first Pac-12 title, and the first men's conference title for Utah since the program entered the Pac-12. As a result, Kinneberg was named the Pac-12 coach of the year as the team looked to make a mark on the conference.
The following season in 2017, Kinneberg's team finished with its first and only winning record in the conference before dropping back to well under .500 for the remainder of his tenure.
Later that year, Kinneberg came under fire from the NCAA for several team violations, including allegations that there was drug abuse among several athletes, staff members requested prescriptions medicine from athletes, and Kinneberg asking a student manager to buy him alcohol on several occasions.
Kinneberg won 381 while games at Utah, and took the team to the NCAA Tournament twice, once in the Mountain West Conference and later in the Pac-12.
"First and foremost, I want to congratulate Bill on a remarkable career," Utah's Athletic Director Mark Harlan said in a statement. "His care for his students has been second to none. I worked with Bill and was fortunate to know him back in the day when we both worked at the University of Arizona, and I am grateful to have worked with him again here at Utah for the last three years. He is a terrific coach but an even better person."