Sports

Harvard mourns death of baseball coach Joe Walsh

He became local baseball legend

Joe Walsh, who attended Catholic Memorial and Suffolk University, excelled as skipper of the Crimson.

Associated Press

Joe Walsh, who attended Catholic Memorial and Suffolk University, excelled as skipper of the Crimson.

Harvard baseball coach Joe Walsh, who led the Crimson to five Ivy League titles in 17 seasons, died Tuesday. He was 58.

The university said Walsh died at his home in Chester, N.H. His wife Sandra said it is believed her husband of 26 years had a heart attack.

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Walsh was 347-388-2 at Harvard and 204-136 in Ivy League play, leading the team to a school-best 36-12 record in 1998 and a No. 24 national ranking.

Prior to coaching Harvard, Walsh spent 15 years as head coach at his alma mater, Suffolk University. He had an overall record of 569-564-3 at both schools.

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The native of South Boston graduated from Catholic Memorial High School in 1971.

Harvard athletic director Bob Scalise called Walsh’s death ‘‘a tragic day for everyone associated with Harvard athletics, Massachusetts baseball, and the larger baseball community.’’

Walsh also worked for years in the Cape Cod League, serving as head coach for the Brewster Whitecaps and serving stints with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and the Wareham Gatemen.

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Sandra Walsh called her husband a generous and kind-hearted man who believed in old-fashioned morals and put his loved ones ahead of himself. And while he loved all sports, ‘‘he lived baseball,’’ she said.

Morgan Brown, a Harvard assistant baseball coach, said Walsh brought ‘‘a whole new energy level’’ to coaching baseball for nearly a third of a century in Boston.

Brown, who also played at Harvard under Walsh, called him a community-minded man who influenced everyone from players who went on to pitch in the major leagues, to kids from his old neighborhood of Dorchester who played in local camps.

‘‘Coach was as Boston as they came, but man, he had a really broad impact,’’ Brown said.

In addition to his wife, the Boston native is survived by four daughters.

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