Tag: coach

Andy Baylock, Local Coaching Legend

Andy Baylock is a teacher, mentor and role model for athletes throughout Connecticut and beyond. He is best known for his prolific career as the former head coach of University of Connecticut’s baseball program. Baylock’s story began in New Britain where he was born on June 22, 1938. As a native of the Hardware City, he played catcher for New Britain High School’s 1955 state championship team. Baylock graduated from Central Connecticut State University where he was a 4-year letterwinner and captain for the baseball and football teams.

1972 UConn Baseball Team
Hartford Courant excerpt, 1973.
Andy Baylock named Head Coach of UConn Baseball, 1973.

During his college years, Baylock played summer ball in the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League, earning league titles with the Hamilton Standard and Riley Redlegs teams. Then he attended the University of Michigan where he earned a Master’s degree in 1962. Baylock served as a graduate assistant coach with the Michigan Wolverines baseball and football teams. Next, he returned home to Connecticut to East Catholic of Manchester as a schoolteacher and football coach. During this time, Baylock also played professional football for the Springfield Acorns in the Atlantic Coast Football League.

1973 UConn Baseball Team

In 1963, Baylock was hired as UConn’s freshman baseball coach. He joined the Husky staff on a full-time basis a year later as assistant football and baseball coach. During the summer of 1971, Baylock also became assistant coach of the Falmouth Commodores in the Cape Cod Baseball League. By 1973, he was appointed head coach of the Commodores, taking over from Bill Livesey. Baylock was UConn’s assistant baseball coach for 15 years under the tutelage of head coach Larry Panciera. From 1964 to 1979, Baylock helped the Huskies to the College World Series in 1965, 1972 and 1979. He has also sat on the faculty of the department of kinesiology at UConn.

Andy Baylock, UConn Baseball Head Coach, 1978.

Baylock became head coach of UConn Baseball in 1980, a post he held for 24 years. He compiled a 556-492-8 record, won two Big East championships and earned three NCAA tournament berths. He also had an active international coaching career as a pitching coach for the 1985 and 1989 U.S. Senior National Teams. In 1992, Coach Baylock was named Big East Coach of the Year. Under Baylock, players such as Charles Nagy, Pete Walker, Jesse Carlson, Jason Grabowski, Jeff Fulchino, Brian Esposito, Scott Burrell, Brian Specyalski and Brett Burnham matriculated to professional baseball.

1989 UConn Baseball Team
1989 UConn Baseball Team

In 1996, Baylock was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, 1 of 8 Hall of Fames in which he has been enshrined. Others inductions included the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame and New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association Hall of Fame. Baylock retired as UConn’s head baseball coach in May 2003. The University of Connecticut retired his uniform number (28) at a banquet in 2004. Nearly 600 attended the event at the Aqua Turf in Southington, Connecticut.

Brian Specyalski and Andy Baylock, Team USA Baseball, 1989.
Baylock interviewed by the Hartford Courant, 1990.

“If you took part in athletics, you know how it taught you to discipline yourself, to operate under a pre-arranged system of rules and regulations. You know athletics taught you democratic principles of equality, team spirit, the willingness to work in order to win and sacrifice for the same purpose. You will know that athletics taught you decision making, humility and that they gave you someone extra to talk to—your coach.”

-Andy Baylock

Andy Baylock, Head Coach, UConn Huskies Baseball, 1998.
Andy Baylock, Head Coach, UConn Huskies Baseball, 1998.

Coach Baylock has served as UConn’s Director of Football Alumni and Community Affairs since 2002. In his role, he cultivates relationships with Husky football alumni and various members of the national football community. Baylock serves as the team’s liaison both to professional scouts and Connecticut high school coaches. He also assists the team’s departing seniors with career networking, represents UConn at various speaking engagements and organizes community service projects.

2001 UConn Baseball Team

Coach Baylock rejoined the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League as Vice President in 2016. He’s been a source of steady wisdom and encouragement for the league. Up until the the COVID-19 pandemic, he was a perennial batting practice pitcher for the Connecticut Tigers of the New York–Penn League. Coach Baylock is said to have a rubber arm and as recently as 2019, at the age of 81 years old, he was throwing batting practice to hitters at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.

Baylock interviewed by the Hartford Courant, 2005.
Baylock pitching at Dodd Stadium for the Connecticut Tigers, 2016.
Andy Baylock and Bill Holowaty, 2018.
Andy Baylock with Jim Penders after surpassing Baylock for most wins, 2019.

A few months ago, Andy Baylock appeared in a documentary film, Far From Home: The Steve Dalkowski Story by Thomas Chiapetta. Baylock was Dalkowski’s catcher and friend while growing up in New Britain. Baylock now resides in Mansfield, Connecticut. He and his late wife, Barbara, are the parents of three children, Jennifer, Jeffrey and Andrea, all of whom attended UConn. He also has six grandchildren. Here’s to Coach Baylock; a local sports legend who’s spent a lifetime teaching student student-athletes, guiding young adults and selflessly serving others.

At 80, Andy Baylock is still throwing batting practice.

Barry Chasen Ballpark in Windsor

FORMER HIGH SCHOOL COACH AND GHTBL HALL OF FAMER EARNS A GREAT HONOR.

Reposted article from Journal Inquirer by Joe Chaisson 

WINDSOR — It was a joyous occasion Saturday as town officials, current and former players and coaches, and family and friends honored Barry Chasen, dedicating the ballpark outside the high school in his honor.

Chasen, who turns 73 this month, was the head coach of the high school’s baseball team from 1975 to 2003 while also teaching social studies for 36 years.

The ceremony was scheduled to take place in March during the season, head coach Joe Serfass said, but had to be rescheduled because of the pandemic. The afternoon, however, offered warm baseball-type weather.

Many of the former coaches and friends in attendance called Chasen a “walking encyclopedia” for baseball. During his speech, Chasen rarely spoke of himself, but instead attributed his coaching career to a long list of coaches he worked with during his career. Chasen concluded the speech by thanking his wife, Joanne, and son, Matthew, for all their support.

Chasen led the school to a state championship title in 1979 and again in 1991.

Before the ceremony began, Chasen said he was incredibly pleased to be recognized by the town and the high school.

Barry Chasen addresses the media at Barry Chasen Ballpark outside the high school, 2020.

“I feel really good about this. Obviously, it’s been tough the last eight months, but the turnout today has been really nice. It’s a nice tribute and certainly I feel very honored to see my name up there on the sign,” Chasen said.

“I didn’t go into coaching for that though, and you don’t get here by yourself, so it’s thanks to all the people who have helped me out between players, coaches, administrators, town people, parents, and many more.

James Apicelli, who coached with Chasen from 1998 to 2003, said Chasen was the ultimate coach.

“I think the best part about coaching with Barry was we would always come back after the game, we’d go into the coaches office, and we’d sit down for hours after games and go over in-game details. It wasn’t to criticize or anything, we would look at every decision that was made during the game and he’d ask if we should have done things differently.”

Mayor Don Trinks said Chasen is much more than just a baseball coach.

“When you think about his tenure as a coach and all the lives he’s impacted and the success of young people that he helped mold and create — he’s really contributed so much to the town and certainly in many other ways than just baseball,” Trinks said.

Trinks credited Chasen with inspiring him to get involved with politics after Chasen was his teacher during the Jimmy Carter presidency.

“He really gave me a peek into the political and government world,” Trinks said. “I can’t go as far as to say he made me go into government, but he certainly had an impact on that decision so I imagine he’s impacted a lot of other students in the past the same way.”

Serfass, who’s been with the school since 2010, said he was happy to see the field finally completed with the addition of the new sign.

“Unfortunately, when I came here the field was one of the worst in the state,” Serfass said. “There were no dugouts, no fencing, no scoreboard, no press box, and the infield was in bad shape. We finally renovated it about six years ago and redid everything and it’s an honor to have Coach Chasen on the sign.”

Signage at Barry Chasen Ballpark, 2020.


Click Here to Watch the Barry Chasen Ballpark News Story by NBC Connecticut / Xfinity Sportsdesk on Instagram.

New Britain’s Tom Thibodeau Played Twilight Ball

(Main photo: Tom Thibodeau, Head Coach, Salem State University, 1985.)

A little known fact: when he wasn’t coaching basketball, Tom Thibodeau played baseball in the Hartford Twilight League. The New Britain native manned third base for the Manchester Community College twilight team in 1976 and for the Society for Savings club in 1977.

Tom Thibodeau, Third Baseman, Society for Savings, 1977.
Tom Thibodeau, Assistant Coach, Minnesota Timberwolves, 1989.

Thibodeau went on to become a collegiate and professional basketball coach. He won NBA Coach of the Year Award 2011 with the Chicago Bulls. He served as an Assistant Coach for the United States men’s national basketball team from 2013-2016, and helped Team USA win a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games. Most recently, Thibodeau was named Head Coach of the New York Knicks.

Tom Thibodeau hired by the New York Knicks, 2020.