Tag: uconn huskies

Bill Holowaty, Local Sports Legend

May 26, 2020

Bill Holowaty is the current President of the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League and former head baseball coach at Eastern Connecticut State University. Holowaty coached for 45 years (1967-2012) at ECSU and became one of the most successful coaches in the history of New England intercollegiate athletics. He led the Warriors to the postseason 39 out of 45 times, appearing 14 times in the Division-III College World Series and winning 4 championships (1982, 1990, 1998 and 2002). He was named Division-III National Coach of the Year 4 times. Coach Holowaty ended his career record with 1,412 wins, 528 losses and 7 ties – a winning percentage of .725, and has the third most all-time wins by a Division-III coach.

Coach Bill Holowaty, 2010.

William P. Holowaty was born on March 6, 1945 in Little Falls, New York. He was a gifted athlete with good size. Holowaty starred in football, basketball and baseball at Mohawk High School in Mohawk, New York. He became a top basketball recruit and visited Dean Smith’s University of North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest before deciding on the University of Connecticut. Coach Fred Shabel’s Huskies included UConn greats like Toby Kimball, Wes Bialosuknia and Tom Penders. Holowaty played basketball at UConn from 1964 to 1967, winning 3 season titles in the Yankee Conference. He was later recognized as a member of the UConn Basketball All-Century Ballot.

Bill Holowaty (center), UConn Basketball, 1965.
1965 UConn Basketball Team
1967 UConn Basketball Team
Bill Holowaty (left), UConn Basketball, 1967.

During college, Holowaty played baseball in the Hartford Twilight League with the Hamilton Standard team. Great local players like Wally Widholm and Hal Lewis were Bill’s teammates and mentors. Immediately after his basketball career, Holowaty became head baseball coach at Eastern Connecticut State College (renamed Eastern Connecticut State University in 1983) and quickly turned the program around. In 1973, he was the assistant coach for the Chatham A’s of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Holowaty was a guiding force for instituting the NCAA Division-III baseball championship in the mid-1970s. While coaching, he also served as ECSU Athletic Director for 15 years.

Bill Holowaty, ECSU Baseball Coach, 1969.
1970 Eastern Connecticut Baseball Team
Bill Holowaty (right), ECSU Head Baseball Coach, 1970.
Bill Holowaty, ECSU Basketball Assistant, 1971.
Holowaty earns 300 wins, 1979.
New England All-Star Game at Fenway Park, 1979.

1980 ECSU Baseball Team
Coach Holowaty celebrating the holidays at home plate, 1980.
Bill Holowaty, ECSU Head Baseball Coach, 1982.
Holowaty featured in Hartford Courant, 1983.
Bill Holowaty and Jason Holowaty, 1984.
Bill Holowaty, ECSU Head Baseball Coach, 1985.
Bill Holowaty, Eastern Connecticut, 1986.
Coach Holowaty, Eastern Connecticut, 1987.
Coach Holowaty, Eastern Connecticut, 1987.
Holowaty receives Gold Key, 1988.
Coach Holowaty, Eastern Connecticut, 1989.
Coach Holowaty, 1990.
1993 Eastern Baseball Team
1993 Eastern Baseball Team

Bill Holowaty built his coaching legacy upon competitiveness, consistency and fundraising. His vision for success included a Varsity and Junior Varsity team, Spring Training trips to Florida and a state-of-the-art ballpark in Willimantic, Connecticut. The ECSU Warriors posted at least 30 wins in 28 seasons under Holowaty leading to four national championships. In 2003, the Warriors lost the Division-III College World Series championship game in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded. Afterwards Holowaty was quoted saying,

Coach Bill Holowaty, 1998.
Nick Tempesta and Bill Holowaty, 2000.
Coach Holowaty wins 1000th game, 2002.
Eastern Connecticut wins D-III College World Series, 2002.
The Holowaty Family at National College Baseball Hall of Fame Induction, 2002.
Coach Bill Holowaty, 2003.
Coach Bill Holowaty, 2008.
Bill Holowaty, ECSU Head Baseball Coach, 2012.

“We’ll be back again. It’s like putting on a Red Sox uniform; you are hoping to win a World Series. You put on a Yankee uniform and you are expected to win. You put on an Eastern uniform and you’re expected to win.”

– Bill Holowaty
Holowaty Baseball Camp, Pomfret, Connecticut, 2014.
Holowaty speaks to Connecticut Mustangs AAU program, 2016.

In the final stage of his career, Holowaty continued to win. His Warriors had a streak of 11 consecutive 30-win seasons into 2012. The team fell one win shy of extending that streak in 2013. As a result of his success, Coach Holowaty earned several accolades and was inducted into the following Hall of Fame organizations: ABCA, Greater Utica Sports, National College Baseball, NEIBA and the Eastern Connecticut State University Athletic Hall of Fame. He was a co-founder of the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA). He served as ABCA President, was a long-time member of the ABCA All-America committee and is currently a member of the ABCA Board of Directors.

Coach Holowaty playing golf, 2016.
The Holowaty Family, 2017.
Evan Chamberlain and Bill Holowaty at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, Hartford, 2017.
Bill Holowaty, GHTBL President, 2017.
Andy Baylock and Bill Holowaty, 2017.

Bill Holowaty remains a fierce competitor to this day. He enjoys playing golf regularly with friends and family. He spends much of his time with his wife Jan Holowaty, his children Jason, Jennifer, Jared and his grandchildren. Jason and Jared Holowaty played professional baseball in Australia after college and carved out their own careers in baseball. Bill attributes much of his family’s success to his wife Jan and often mentions their shared love of sports.

Bill and Jan Holowaty, 2018.
GHTBL donates to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, 2018.
Jan, Bill and Jennifer Holowaty at the 2018 NEIBA Hall of Fame induction, 2018.
Coach Holowaty (right) with other college coaches at the annual American Baseball Coaches Association conference, 2019.
Bill DePascale and Bill Holowaty, 2019.

Coach Holowaty inducted into the National Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame

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.

Andy Baylock Named GHTBL Vice President

Baylock returns to the Twilight League to lead by example.

Former UConn Baseball Head Coach, Andy Baylock has been named to the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League Executive Committee as Vice President.  Baylock’s appointment adds another legendary Connecticut baseball coach to the league.  He will work with President Bill Holowaty and the GHTBL Executive Committee to recruit and develop local ballplayers of the highest amateur caliber.  

“Andy Baseball” as he is known in some circles, was a catcher in the Hartford Twilight for the 1960 and 1961 Hamilton Standard teams.  Baylock’s vast baseball experience and established reputation will add another invaluable guiding hand for the GHTBL in 2017.

1961 Hamilton Standard, GHTBL

Baylock is best known for his 24 year reign as UConn Huskies head baseball coach. At UConn, he moulded future major league pitchers: Charles Nagy, Roberto Hernandez, and Pete Walker.  He began his Huskies career as an assistant baseball coach in 1964, earning the head coaching position in 1980.  

In 1987, Baylock won the Jack Butterfield Award given by the New England Association of College Baseball Coaches for dedication to collegiate baseball.  He guided the Huskies to Big East Championships in 1990 and 1994, along with a trio of College Word Series berths.  Baylock retired from coaching in May of 2003 after posting a 556-492-8 career record.  At the time of his retirement, he had personally coached 1,447 of the 2,327 games (62.2%) in UConn baseball history.  

L to R: Walt Dropo, Andy Baylock and Larry Panciera, 1983.

As a lifelong son of Connecticut, Baylock grew up in New Britain as a talented baseball and football player. A 1960 graduate of Central Connecticut State University, He captained the baseball and football teams and received the Gladstone Award; CCSU’s highest scholar-athlete award and was later inducted into the Central Connecticut Hall of Fame in 1981. After graduating from CCSU, his career took him beyond the Connecticut’s borders to the University of Michigan where Baylock earned his master’s degree and as a graduate assistant football and baseball coach. 

In 1962, Baylock returned home to become the head football coach for East Catholic High School in Manchester.  He then enjoyed a successful stint as a professional football player with the Springfield Acorns of the Atlantic Coast Professional Football League from 1963 to 1965.  Baylock was later honored with induction into the East Catholic High School Hall of Fame. 

Andy Baylock, 1986.

In 1997, Baylock was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Hall of Fame.  In the spring of 2008, Baylock received awards for his outstanding contribution from both the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and the National Football Foundation’s Southeastern Connecticut Chapter. 

Nowadays, Baylock is in his 14th year as the UConn football program’s Director of Football Alumni and Community Affairs.  Baylock serves as the team’s liaison both to professional scouts and the Connecticut high school coaches. 

Over the years, Baylock has been honored by several athletic organizations, including his January 1996 induction into the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, one of the seven Hall of Fames in which he has been enshrined.  Baylock has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award, the highest bestowed by the ABCA.  

Baylock has also been active on the international baseball scene as a distinguished pitching clinician, including serving as pitching coach for the 1985, 1988 and 1989 USA national teams and the Dutch national team in 1999. During this time, he coached players such as Matt Williams, Mike McFarland, Jack McDowell, Kevin Brown, Alex Fernandez, Chuck Knoblauch, Mo Vaughn, Jeremy Burnitz and Joe Girardi.  Throughout the 90’s, Baylock spent five summers a veteran pitching coach in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League.

USA Baseball, 1990.

In 1991, he was awarded the Baseball Service Award by the New York Professional Baseball Committee.  He has also been recognized by the University of Connecticut with bestowals of the Albert Jorgensen Athletic Award given by the Alumni Association and the UConn Club Outstanding Contribution Award.  Baylock was awarded the 1985 Gold Key from the Connecticut Sportswriters’ Alliance for his many years of service to Connecticut athletics.  In 2002, sportswriters presented the veteran skipper with the Outstanding Contribution to New England Baseball Award. 

Adding to his accolades, Baylock served as chairman of the Division I Baseball Committee for the ABCA and was the chair of the Division I All-America Selection Committee.  He is a past member of the NCAA Pro-Sport Liaison Committee.  Baylock was the President of the BIG EAST Baseball Coaches’ Association and a member of the Executive Council of the New England Baseball Coaches’ Association.

Baylock’s knowledge of baseball traces back to a truly unique experience, as a state championship catcher with the New Britain High School Hurricanes in 1955.  There he caught the mythical left-hander Steve Dalkowski, who in baseball lore, is believed by many to have thrown harder than anyone who ever lived.  

Today, Baylock serves in an advisory capacity as batting practice pitcher for the Connecticut Tigers of the Atlantic League.  Baylock has been a fixture at Dodd Stadium for the last two decades.  He has thrown batting practice to some of the best who ever played for the Norwich Navigators, Connecticut Defenders, and Connecticut Tigers.  

Andy Baylock, 2016.

Baylock has said that Nick Johnson was the best hitter he ever saw come through, but 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner was his favorite.  “I love that kid,” Baylock once said of Baumgarner.  “And he could hit, because he was always sneaking up in the batting cage asking for another 50 or 60 swings when nobody was looking.”

Andy Baylock knows dedication to baseball.  His coaching philosophy has fostered the development of hundreds of great players on and off the field.  “You have to be fun to be around,” Baylock has said about ballplayers.  “Its one of my basic things.  Be good people, be dependable, be accountable, be responsible, be caring, be loyal, be self-disciplined, be respectful.” The GHTBL is grateful and honored to have Andy Baylock back in the league to help lead us to many more years of success.