Former Arizona baseball coach Jerry Kindall died on Sunday night due to complications from a stroke that occurred earlier that week. He was 82.
He was known to be the first man to win College World Series title both as a player and a head coach. Adding to his feat are three national championship titles for the University of Arizona baseball team: 1976, 1980, and 1986. He was the head coach of the team for 24 years from 1973 until he retired in 1996. Upon his retirement, he held a coaching win-loss record of 860-579-7.
Before his coaching stint with the Wildcats, Kindall was part of the Minnesota team that defeated Arizona for the National Championship in 1956.
As a coach, Kindall also won three Pac-10 titles and a WAC pennant at Arizona. The teams he had coached were 12-time finals qualifiers in the NCAA postseason. Those players he had coached earned several awards in the sport while 209 athletes have become professional baseball players, including 32 who went on to play in the Major Baseball Leagues.
Because of his major contributions to the University of Arizona team, Kindall was inducted to its Hall of Fame in 1996. A year before that, he was given the same recognition by his alma mater, the University of Minnesota.
With his demise, a lot of colleagues, teammates and former players sent tributes to the colorful career and life Kindall had.
Current Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, who played for the 1980 Arizona championship team, recalled good memories with his coach. While some people talk the talk, according to him, Kindall walked the walk.
“He lived his life just like you’re supposed to. It’s easy to say things, but he lived it. In a nutshell, he taught us not only to respect the game of baseball, but respect the people in the game. That was the most valuable lesson any of us learned. He taught us how to act and treat people.”
Former Twins teammate Jim Kaat was saddened and stunned upon hearing the passing of Kindall.
Also, current Wildcats coach Jay Johnson also sent his condolences after learning the death of the legendary coach. He recalled Kindall as one of the greatest college coaches of all time.
“I don’t think there is anyone that was held in higher regard for the person that they were as Coach Kindall was. He was almost a larger than life person, and when you talk about being an elite coach, and more importantly, an elite person, he was and will continue to be the standard. I am honored to be a part of the program that Coach made so great for so long.”
Kindall’s funeral, meanwhile, will be held on January 4, 2017, at the Victory Worship Center in Tucson, according to reports. The viewing is set at noon of the same day which will then be followed by a memorial at 1:00 p.m. Both events are open to the public.