July 31, 2012

2012 Coaching Changes  


Harvard head coach Joe Walsh passes away


By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder



Harvard head coach Joe Walsh died suddenly this morning at his home in Chester, N.H.


“He was a long-time friend and colleague going back to Boston Park League days,” said Northeastern head coach Neil McPhee. “He was an excellent coach and ‘baseball guy.’ He was part of the ‘heart & soul’ of New England college baseball, who was as loyal a friend as anyone could wish for. Harvard has endured a tremendous loss, and we will all miss him greatly!”


Walsh was head coach for the Crimson for 17 seasons, capturing five Ivy League titles and earning five NCAA tourney bids. Over the years, Harvard earned victories over Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame and Oklahoma State. Walsh led Harvard to a 36-12 season in 1998, with wins over Tulane and Nicholls State in the NCAA South II Regional in Baton Rouge, La. The Crimson was ranked No. 24 in the final national poll. Over the past 17 campaigns, Walsh led Harvard to a record of 204-136 (.600) in Ivy League action.


After graduating from Catholic Memorial High School in the West Roxbury area of Boston in 1971, Walsh played collegiate baseball at Suffolk University and earned his degree in 1976.


His first head coaching position came at Suffolk for the 1981 season. Walsh coached there for 15 years before moving to Harvard in 1996. Walsh was inducted into the Suffolk Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.


Walsh posted a career mark of 569-564-3 in 32 seasons as a head coach. He was named Northeast Region Division I Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 1997 and 1998.


“Joe was the ultimate baseball guy,” said Princeton head coach Scott Bradley, “had a passion for the game unlike many others.”


Walsh was head coach of the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod League in 1988. He also assisted the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and Wareham Gatemen. Walsh often threw batting practice at Fenway Park.


Walsh leaves behind a wife, Sandra, and four daughters: Tory, Holly, Katie and Kasey.


Bob Whalen, Dartmouth head coach

"This is a huge loss for Ivy League, and New England baseball, and to everyone in this profession that knew him. Every Harvard team I ever coached against was a perfect reflection of their coach: talented, well-prepared, incredibly competitive, and passionate about both winning and Harvard University. Joe was an excellent coach and did a great deal to elevate respect nationally for Ivy League baseball by the way his teams played. We are all somewhat diminished with his passing".


Mike Stone, Massachusetts head coach

"I'm deeply sorry to learn of the sudden passing of Coach Joe Walsh. He was a great competitor on the field and an outstanding mentor/coach for his players. The fraternity of college baseball coaches will miss his fire."


John Cole, Penn head coach

“I enjoyed playing against Joe's teams. He was always excited about playing and was a guy I enjoyed talking to before the game. He would be straight up and always be truthful in what he was saying. He always wanted to have more baseball time within the league. He was very passionate about playing and recruiting. I will miss interacting with Joe. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and team.”


Paul Keyes, VCU head coach

“Joe was a great baseball and family man, always very friendly but at the same time very competitive. We lost a great educator and man.”


John Stuper, Yale head coach

"Joe and I were friends. We were as friendly as a Harvard and Yale coach can be. I will miss him terribly. He ALWAYS had his team ready to play. He loved the game, he loved his kids and he loved Harvard. In my view, he was as good an "in game" coach as I have ever coached against. Joe would be the first to tell you that he wasn't about the paperwork in the office. He was about the game. We had a nice visit at a recruiting event in Ft Myers earlier in the summer and I'm glad that I had that opportunity. In 2003, we had a tragic accident here at Yale when two of my players were killed. Joe was one of the first of my colleagues to reach out. When we played them, he presented me with a bat signed by all his players in honor of my two kids. I still have it. It is one of my prized possessions. College baseball, Boston, Harvard, and anyone who came in contact with him is much poorer for his loss."


Todd Carroll, MIT assistant coach (coached at Harvard 2006-07)

“People will talk about the things he did in baseball, and there are so many accomplishments. But Coach Walsh was so much more than that. He was the same guy whether he was talking to a Kennedy or the guy that made his coffee that morning. A great father, friend, and mentor, all of us that knew him are better people because of it.”


(photos courtesy of Harvard Media Relations Office)