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Legendary Cornell baseball coach Ted Thoren dies at 89

Cornell's most successful coach in history, baseball's Theodore H. "Ted" Thoren, died May 10 at Cayuga Medical Center at age 89 following a lengthy illness.

Thoren led the Big Red for nearly 40 years, from 1962 until 1990, compiling a record of 541-520-11. A 29-15 finish in 1977 still stands as the program's record for victories.

Born in Paris Oct. 31, 1921, Thoren served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He studied at Ithaca College and became athletic director and a line coach at Sayre (Pa.) High School (1949-52) before returning to the Hill in 1952, first as a graduate assistant in Cornell's football program. He moved to baseball in 1955, becoming head coach seven years later. He continued to coach both teams until 1972, when he began to focus exclusively on baseball.

In 1983 Thoren began summer coaching in Yugoslavia in honor of his Croatian grandmother. He was chosen coach of the Croatian national team and became known as the "godfather of Croatian baseball."

Thoren was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992. He is also a member of the Croatian and Austrian baseball halls of fame. Thoren received the Cornell Legend Award in 2008 and the Cornell Football Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

In retirement Thoren coached former players at annual alumni baseball games held during Reunion, some of whom endowed the Ted Thoren Head Coach of Cornell Baseball position in his honor. Thoren's number, 10, is the only number ever retired by the Cornell baseball program.

Thoren's survivors include his wife, Jeanne, five children and their families.

Calling hours are at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 302 St. Catherine Circle, Ithaca, Sunday, May 15, 4-7 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Catherine's at 10 a.m. May 16. A celebration of Thoren's life will be held at Lakewatch Inn, 1630 East Shore Dr., Ithaca, 1-4 p.m. May 16.

Donations can be made to the Cornell Football Association or the Cornell University Baseball Boosters Club, in care of the Department of Athletics.

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Blaine Friedlander