SPECIAL TO THE HERALD
NEW BRITAIN - Former Central Connecticut State star athlete Andy Baylock has led an illustrious career in the eyes of his colleagues, which has led him to numerous milestones throughout his coaching career. Last Friday was no exception.
Baylock, a New Britain native, was officially inducted into the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Hall of Fame for his years as the University of Connecticut baseball head coach. Baylock, alongside seven other inductees, were honored prior to the NEIBA’s annual all-star game on June 2, in Pawtucket, R.I.
“That was an awesome thing up there at Pawtucket,” Baylock said. “Just to be in the company of those people, especially the ones who were deceased. I really looked up to them when I was a younger coach. They were very good to me.”
Baylock holds the Huskies record of 556 victories throughout his 24-year coaching career, averaging 23 wins per season. He also led UConn to three NCAA tournament appearances.
Baylock is a New Britain High School alumnus where he played catcher on the 1955 state championship team. Baylock also was a longtime paperboy for the New Britain Herald during his school years.
After his time at NBHS, Baylock went on to CCSU where he was team captain of the Blue Devils baseball and football teams. Baylock remembered fondly the mentorship he received from both schools that led him to his great success.
“New Britain High School, I had Mr. Toner, who was the football coach, and Mr. Huber was the baseball coach. I had good mentors at Central, too, one was Dr. Bill Moore, the athletic director, and my football coach, Bill Detrick, he was the basketball coach as well, and coach Hank Majlinger. Those were my three biggies at Central,” Baylock said. “I always had good mentorship, and in my entire career, what I can really enjoy as an old guy now is I never knowingly cheated, cut corners or compromised the integrity of the game.”
Baylock was a four-year letter winner during his time at CCSU. For his on-field accomplishments, Central presented Baylock with the Gladstone Award, CCSU’s highest award presented to a scholar athlete.
CCSU athletic director Paul Schlickmann expressed the pride he feels for a CCSU alumnus to accomplish such a prestigious honor.
“What a wonderful honor for a man who has meant so much to college baseball in Connecticut, New England and beyond,” Schlickmann said. “We are obviously proud of him as a CCSU alumnus, but prouder still of the countless number of young people he has mentored and positively impacted throughout a remarkable career as a coach and administrator.”
Baylock graduated from Central in 1960 and earned a master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1962. He served as a graduate assistant baseball coach for two years.
Baylock joined the UConn athletics department in 1963, spending his first 15 years as the top assistant coach to then-head baseball coach Larry Panciera. Baylock would then succeed Panciera and become the official head baseball coach.
Jim Penders, the current head baseball coach at UConn, was a former player of Baylock from 1990-94. But their relationship did not end as a player and coach, it was much deeper than that. Penders’ father and uncle use to also play for Baylock. Both families grew so close that Baylock attended the wedding of Penders’ parents.
“He’s a legendary coach. The most selfless guy I ever met,” Penders said. “He is about making the younger generation better. What a proud moment for New Britain. He was a guy who you knew who cared about his kids and players. He was a nurturer and a great representation of New Britain.”
Penders also gave the eulogy for Baylock’s late wife, Barbara Baylock, in 2015. Many remember her as “Mama Bear” after she took over her husband’s study hall for UConn’s freshmen football and baseball players. Together they raised three children, Jennifer who is the oldest, Jeffrey the middle child and Andrea their youngest, all of whom attended UConn.
“She stayed and raised three kids and supported everything I ever did, wherever I went. I couldn’t have done it without that support, no way,” Baylock said of Barbara. “She kept things in perspective. She’d say, ‘Oh, you won another award? That’s nice. Now go on and sweep the lawn.’ That’s a good woman.”
In 1996, Baylock was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In May 2003, after posting a 556-492-8 record, Baylock retired as head baseball coach. Together with his time as assistant coach, through his retirement, Baylock had coached 1,447 of the 2,327 games (62.2 percent) in UConn's baseball history.
Baylock’s love for the game still remains at 78-years-old. He is currently positioned as the Director of Alumni and Community Relations for the UConn football program and is a volunteer coach for the Connecticut Tigers, a minor league baseball team.