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Ace pitcher Justin Hedrick, BA'05, receives a scholarship funded by the family of John "Tinker" Connelly, BA'53, MEd'66. Pictured (from left): Timoth Connelly, MBA'85, Hedrick, and Tinker Connelly, around the statue of legendary pitcher Cy Young on the site of the first world series.

Connelly Family Hits Home Run

In 2003, the varsity baseball team took home its first America East title since 1997. This year, the Huskies arte favored to repeat that performance.

"It is an honor for us to pay tribute to Dad's lifelong dedication to Northeastern. Making an education possible for another while benefiting NU athletics is a powerful legacy."

And the new season is off to a great start, thanks to the team's 2004 historic match-up against the Boston Red Sox in a special exhibition game during spring training. On the mound was ace starting pitcher Justin Hedrick, BA'05.

The team's recent successes, as well as the presence of outstanding players like Hedrick, can be attributed, in part, to the generosity of alumni and friends. For example, the family of John "Tinker" Connelly, BA'53, Med '66 — one of Northeastern's all-time greatest athletes — is funding a scholarship to honor his devotion to Northeastern.

Connelly's children — Timothy, MBA'88; Matthew, BA'87; Anne; and Claire McDonough — have established the John "Tinker" Connelly Baseball Scholarship Fund. They endowed the scholarship at $50,000, with additional funding from other alumni. "When I had found out what my children had done, I could not have been prouder," says Tinker.

Over six decades, Tinker was an outstanding student-athlete, coach, teacher, and assistant athletic director. After graduation, Tinker joined the Athletics department, coaching both hockey and football.

In 1956, he was appointed coach of his favorite sport — baseball — and directed the program until his retirement in 1981. He was regarded as one of New England's finest tacticians, leading the team to four NCAA tournaments and a visit to the College World Series.

Today, the rich legacy of the former football quarterback, hockey defenseman, and baseball second baseman continues with his children's generosity.

"It is an honor for us to pay tribute to Dad's lifelong dedication to Northeastern. Making an education possible for another while benefiting NU athletics is a powerful legacy," says Timothy Connelly, a partner at Brown Brothers Harriman in Boston.

Northeastern awarded the first Tinker Connelly Scholarship to Hedrick. Last year, Hedrick enjoyed a stellar season with a 7-2 record, a 3.47 earned run average after seventy innings, and the most strikeouts and complete games on the Huskies roster. He was also named to the America East All-Tournament team.

Hedrick addressed an alumni cookout before the Red Sox game. "I wasn't to say thank you, because alumni support has made my Northeastern education possible," he said. "If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be experiencing one of the most memorable days of my life."

"It is wonderful to see alumni supporting our student-athletes," says Dave O'Brien. "Tinker is a legend at Northeastern, and his family has proved that they are just as special."

 

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  This article appeared in the May 2004 edition of Northeastern University Magazine.          

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