- Photograph courtesy of Harvard Athletics
Harvard Athletics has announced that head baseball coach Joe Walsh died suddenly at his Chester, N.H., home early this morning. “This is a tragic day for everyone associated with Harvard athletics, Massachusetts baseball, and the larger baseball community,” Nichols Family director of athletics Bob Scalise told The Boston Globe. “Joe’s passion for the game redefined success in the Ivy League and he positively impacted the lives of so many people. To say that he will be missed would be an understatement.”
Walsh, 58, served proudly in his self-professed “dream job” for the past 17 seasons, winning five Ivy League championships. He made a name for himself, writes Steve Buckley of The Boston Herald, at his alma mater, Suffolk University, where he overcame the small detail that his school had neither a practice facility nor a home field by sneaking into other schools’ facilities.
“He definitely wore his heart on his sleeve,” longtime Suffolk University athletic director Jim Nelson, who coached Walsh, told The Herald. “To have him as one of your friends was a true blessing, and he was definitely one of my friends. I’m still coming to grips with the reality of this as I speak the words.”
On the night of Walsh’s death, the crowd at Fenway Park stood and removed its caps for a moment of silence in his honor as the scoreboards and displays were turned off. The PA announcer introduced the observance with a few words of rememberance, including a mention of Walsh bringing his Harvard team to Fenway on April 9 for a batting-practice workout to commemorate the first game played there, between Harvard and the Red Sox, 100 years earlier. Walsh appears in the video included with this report on that memorable day at the ballpark.