John Winkin

From BR Bullpen

John W. Winkin Jr.

Biographical information[edit]

John Winkin was the baseball coach of Husson College in Maine through 2008. At 86, he was believed to be the oldest active coach in the NCAA, in any sport.

Winkin earned his bachelor's degree from Duke University where he played baseball, basketball, and soccer; Jack Coombs was the baseball coach at the time. He served in World War II as a Lt. Commander in the Navy on the destroyer USS McCall, that was based out of Pearl Harbor at the time of the infamous Japanese attack; the vessel was returning from a mission on December 6, 1941, and thus escaped destruction, although it was close enough from port that its crew saw the attack unfold.

He first pursued a career in journalism, because it was considered more prestigious than coaching. He was one of the founding editors of Sport Magazine. He was once a pre-game announcer for the New York Yankees, being the first man to host a pregame TV show (with Mel Allen and Curt Gowdy). He then resumed his studies and earned his Master's and doctorate degree in education from Columbia University. His thesis for his doctorate was on statistical possibilities of the double play. During that time, he was coaching high school football at Dwight Morrow High School in his hometown of Englewood, NJ.

He served as a scout for the Boston Red Sox for several years and worked with Ted Williams at his summer baseball camp for 15 years. He was bridge partners and close friends with Vince Lombardi.

He became the head coach of Colby College, in Maine, in 1954, at the recommendation of Jack Coombs, and held the job until 1974; his record was 301-202-5. He also held the position of athletic director at the school. He was named national coach of the year in 1965. Two of his players, Norm Gigon and Ed Phillips, went on to play in the major leagues.

He was named head coach of the University of Maine in 1975, holding the job until 1996. His record there was 642-430-3 and he went to the College World Series 6 times: 1976, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1986. His players during that fruitful period included Bert Roberge, Bill Swift and Mike Bordick. His assistant with the Black Bears, Stump Merrill, went on to manage the New York Yankees. After leaving the University of Maine, he became an assistant coach at Husson College in 1997 under John Kolasinski and took over as head coach when Kolasinski left in 2003. He suffered a stroke in December of 2007, but came back to coach a final season in 2008 before retiring.

Winkin coached the United States national team that included Mark McGwire in 1983.

He wrote four books, including the Baseball Coaching Bible and Maximizing Baseball Practice Indoors that are still available and marketed in print and/or on video. He was still a regular attendee at the College World Series into his 90s.

He was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.

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