Who WE Are – Mel Gardner

He’s an esteemed 2020 inductee in the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame, but Mel Gardner is also a proud Colonial. For 30 years Gardner was a William Penn baseball coach. During that time, he led his team to a state title in 1991 and compiled a record of 370-209 over the years making him the fourth coach to reach 300 victories. While coaching the Colonials, Gardner also worked in many capacities for the district as a teacher, guidance counselor, and student advisor. The mantra “ Once a Colonial, always a Colonial” is close to Gardner’s heart.

“Once you have been a part of the Colonial School District tradition you become a part of the great history of the school district, and it stays with you the rest of your life. The people you work with, the students you coach and teach and the parents who are so supportive of our programs all with you forever” he says.

Gardner has been a well known and respected figure in high school baseball for more than 40 years. Among other things, he headed the Delaware Baseball Association where he was elected to its executive board and later was named president. Although retired, he continued to serve on the Delaware High School Baseball Coaches Association and the National High School Coaches Association. In 2015, he was inducted into William Penn’s Hall of Fame.

“When I was inducted into the first class of the WP Hall of Fame, at first I couldn’t believe that I was being inducted with some of the greatest mentors of my career…. Once I was able to absorb the selection along with all the great people in the first class it made me feel great to be a part of another great moment in Colonial Nation History,” Gardner says.
In addition to Gardner, other outstanding William Penn graduates have been inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame. They are coach football coach Bill Cole (1979), professional baseball player Dave May(1984), professional boxer Dave Tiberi(2001),  field hockey coach Rosemary “Roe” Bianchini (2001), Coach Bruce Reynolds (2003), softball and field hockey standout Brenda Becker Ferris(2008), Coach Jack Holloway (2008) and field hockey standout Laura Knorr Moliken(2010).

Mel is #WhoWEAre.