The Obit For Ted Thoren

Longtime Baseball, Football Coach Ted Thoren Passes Away
5/10/2011 2:49:11 PM

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Theodore H. (Ted) Thoren, longtime coach of baseball and freshman football at Cornell University, passed away on Tuesday morning in Ithaca at the age of 89 after a lengthy illness. Thoren, who coached the Cornell baseball program from 1962 until his retirement in 1990, was a member of seven halls of fame, including the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame and the Ithaca College Sports Hall of Fame.

Thoren directed the Big Red to a 541- 520-11 record over his 29-year tenure at the helm of the Big Red program. He retired with the most wins of any coach of a single program at Cornell, a mark that stood for 21 years until it was broken last Thursday by current Cornell softball coach Dick Blood.

“Ted's passing represents a profound loss to the Cornell community and to Cornell Athletics in particular,” said Andy Noel, the Meakem*Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Cornell University. “On behalf of the entire department, we extend Ted's family our heartfelt condolences as we celebrate his legacy.”

“Ted is the father of Cornell baseball,” said current Cornell head baseball coach Bill Walkenbach. “The influence that he has had on all of the players who have come through our program is what has allowed it to thrive to this day.”

The impact Thoren had on his players went far beyond wins and losses, however. Through the generosity of his former players, the head coaching position of the Cornell baseball position has been endowed as the Ted Thoren Head Coach of Cornell Baseball. All told, his former players have contributed to 17 endowments for the baseball program, and the annual alumni baseball game, which brings back players from the past 40 years, has been named in his honor. Additionally, his legendary number 10 is the only number retired by the Cornell baseball program.

“I would not be the person I am today without Ted Thoren in my life,” said Rich Booth, '82, one of Thoren's former players and now a key benefactor of the program. “Like many other players, I will miss him dearly. We will never forget all he did for Cornell Baseball. Coach Thoren brought us to Cornell and stayed in touch with us long after we graduated. He was an icon of Cornell Athletics, but more importantly, he was a great mentor and true friend to those played for him. My sincere condolences to (his wife) Jeanne and the Thoren family. Thank you for sharing this great man with us for so many years.”

Thoren's coaching tenure at Cornell covered parts of six decades, beginning with his first position as a graduate football assistant. He worked with the varsity and junior varsity football staffs from 1952 to 1958, becoming a full-time assistant in 1954. In 1955, he began assisting with the Cornell baseball program, first under Royner Green and later under George Patte, before being named as the 13th head coach in program history in 1962.

In 1977, Thoren's charges finished the season 29-15, to this day the most wins in a season by a Cornell baseball team, and won the EIBL championship. The Big Red advanced to the NCAA tournament that season, the only time in program history that Cornell has ever done so, and came just two wins away from advancing to the College World Series.

A 1986 inductee into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Thoren was presented with the Ithaca College Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 after being inducted into the college's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. His induction into the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame came in 1992, and three years later, he was added to the Wellsville, N.Y., Hall of Fame as a charter member. That same year, the Croatian baseball association added him to their Hall, with the Austrian federation following suit in 1996. His seventh and final hall honor came in 2004 with his induction into the Allegany County (N.Y.) Hall of Fame, again as a charter member. In 2008, he received the Cornell Legend Award for his six decades of service, and received the Cornell Football Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

Calling hours for Thoren will be held on Sunday, May 15, from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Ithaca. The funeral will be held on Monday, March 16, at 10 a.m., also at St. Catherine of Siena Church.