head baseball coach, 1915-51
inducted October 2, 2008
It is nearly impossible to discuss Columbia’s rich baseball history without mentioning the name of Andy Coakley, the second most winningest baseball coach in Columbia history. During his 37 years as head coach of the Lions, Coakley posted a record of 306-289-11.
It took little time before his impact was felt on the baseball program at Columbia. In 1916, just his second year at the helm of the team, Coakley led his team to a 17-1-1 record.
The Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League, made up of the eight Ivy League institutions, Army and Navy, was formed in 1930. Under the guidance of Coakley, Columbia won the league championship in 1933, 1934, and again in 1944.
The most famous player to have come under Coakley’s tutelage was Lou Gehrig in the early 1920’s. Gehrig is one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game.
Coakley played professionally for the Philadelphia Athletics, the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, and the New York Highlanders during his ten-year career. The right-handed pitcher helped the Athletics win the 1902 and 1905 American League pennants.
After his professional playing career ended, Coakley coached at Williams College from 1911 to 1913 before arriving on Morningside Heights.
The Holy Cross alumnus garnered numerous honors. In 1954 he was inducted into the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame. Posthumously, he was inducted into the Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
Coakley died in 1963 in New York City at the age of 80.