Brian Baldea, University of Chicago associate director of athletics and former head baseball coach, passed away Dec. 5 at the age of 62.
Baldea was in his 28th year serving within UChicago Athletics & Recreation. He spent 24 seasons leading the Maroons baseball team from 1991 through 2014.
At the helm of the Maroons, Baldea became the winningest baseball coach in the program’s 125-year history. His career record stands at 411-377-5. On April 28, 2007, he surpassed Amos Alonzo Stagg as the school’s all-time leader in baseball victories with 281. Baldea's teams compiled 14 winning seasons and nine campaigns with at least 20 wins.
UChicago’s greatest baseball success occurred under Baldea’s leadership. From 1996-98, the Maroons compiled three-straight 20-win seasons—a feat never before accomplished during the program’s previous 105 years of competition. His 2001 squad set a new school record for victories with a 26-8 mark. Over his final five years as a coach, the Maroons racked up 15 All-Region selections. Alumnus Mark Mosier was named to the all-America and academic all-America teams in 1997, and was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the Major League Baseball draft.
In his role as associate athletic director, Baldea worked alongside Athletic Director Erin McDermott on strategic initiatives. Baldea oversaw the fitness and wellness programs and personnel, including the FitChicago program, personal training, and strength and conditioning, as well as the sports information and promotions office. Additionally, he helped coordinate enrichment programming for student-athletes and managed athletic facilities rentals.
A Chicago native, Baldea attended Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in suburban Palos Hills. He earned his bachelor’s degree from North Park University in 1976, and his master’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1978.
Before his arrival on the Hyde Park campus, Baldea was an assistant baseball coach at Illinois State University for seven years. While at ISU, he spent five years as head coach of a franchise in a summer collegiate league sanctioned by the NCAA and financed by Major League Baseball for the purpose of developing and showcasing college players who exhibit professional potential. Baldea's clubs won four consecutive league championships, and he recruited and coached approximately 40 players who went on to sign professional contracts.
Visitation is scheduled for Dec. 9 from 4 to 9 p.m. at Thompson & Kuenster Funeral Home, 5570 W. 95th St. in suburban Oak Lawn.