NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Cal State Northridge Athletics is saddened by the news that Phil Munroe, passed away over the weekend at the age of 91. Munroe was the first head coach of the San Fernando Valley State College baseball program, guiding the Matadors for three seasons from 1959 to 1961.
In 1959, Munroe's Matadors embarked on the first of what has turned into 55 seasons and counting at Matador Field. Valley State earned its first win in program history under the helm of Munroe, turning in a 7-5 victory over the visiting UC Riverside Highlanders.
In 1960, Munroe led Valley State to 16 wins in 25 games. His team won its first four games of the season over Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Tech, La Verne and Loyola Marymount, and added another four straight over Long Beach State, UC Riverside (twice), and Chapman to improve quickly to 8-2.
The 1961 season was the first for Valley State as a member of the CCAA at the NCAA Division II level. Munroe and the Matadors earned conference wins over current Big West rivals Long Beach State, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. For the second consecutive season, Valley State put together a pair of four-game win streaks and finished the year at 15-19.
Munroe achieved a 34-38 (.472) record in three seasons as head coach at Valley State and paved the way for the 12 conference championships and two Division II national championships the Matadors would go on to win over the years. One of the top players under Munroe's watch was Bob Hiegert, who would go on to coach the program for 18 seasons and win eight league championships and national titles in 1970 and 1984.
Following his tenure with the baseball program, Munroe went on to coach the tennis team from 1973 to 1980 and also served as an assistant athletic director. He was a member of the physical education department for 30 years.
Munroe is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.