Jan. 4, 2013


Former Illinois coach Lee Eilbracht passes away


Lee Eilbracht, the winningest coach in Illinois baseball history, passed away on Jan. 2 at the age of 88.


The Fighting Illini posted 515 victories in 27 seasons under Eilbracht from 1952-78. Eilbracht led Illinois to four Big Ten titles and three NCAA District Playoff appearances.


A native of St. Louis, Mo., Eilbracht was a three-time letterman at Illinois (1943, 46-47). He was team MVP in his final two years and was an All-American in 1947. Eilbracht batted .484 in 1946, the top mark in the Big Ten. Following a career in professional baseball as a player and manager in the Chicago Cubs’ organization, Eilbracht was named head coach at Illinois in 1952.


In 1964, Eilbracht was an Olympic coach for the United States baseball team in Japan. He was the first executive director for the American Baseball Coaches Association. Eilbracht retired following the 1978 season and was an analyst on Illinois baseball broadcasts starting in the 1990s.


Eilbracht is survived by five children and numerous grandchildren.