The Huntington News

Sports Column: Farewell Tour

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By Dan McLoone, News Staff

The final season of a decorated baseball career is coming to a close, and it’s much closer to home than the Derek Jeter Retirement Tour. After 29 seasons in charge of the Northeastern University baseball team, manager Neil McPhee is in the middle of his final year with the squad. No matter how this year’s team finishes the season, McPhee will walk away as the winningest coach in any sport in Northeastern history.

McPhee took over the head coaching job in 1986 after an incredibly successful playing career at Northeastern, where he excelled in both baseball and ice hockey and was elected to the Northeastern Hall of Fame. Drafted in the fifth round by the Minnesota Twins, he spent a few years in the minor leagues, where he was named a Class A All-Star in 1966. After his professional career fizzled, McPhee became the head coach at Newton High School, where he coached hockey and baseball from 1968 to 1985.

At Northeastern, McPhee has established himself as a staple in the baseball team’s success, guiding them to 19 winning seasons, including 16 postseason appearances in the past 22 years. He has led the squad to five conference titles and three NCAA tournament appearances. His personal trophy case includes two America East Coach of the Year and one New England Div. I Coach of the Year awards. He has helped produce 29 players who have signed with a Major League team and four that have seen playing time in the MLB, including 2008 Gold Glove Award winner Carlos Pena. He is one of only 37 active coaches in the country with 700 career wins, currently at 710 and counting.

His resume is perhaps the most impressive in Northeastern coaching history. McPhee has without a doubt earned the right to coach Northeastern for as long as he wants, but he made the decision that it is time for him to move on.

“After 28 years of a wonderful coaching experience at my alma mater, it is time to transition the program into the next generation of Huskies baseball,” coach McPhee said about his decision to retire following this season. McPhee will be passing the torch to current assistant coach Mike Glavine, a former player under McPhee himself.

But he can’t sit back and relax just yet. The Huskies are just underway with Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) play, sitting at sixth place in the conference at 2-4 after being swept by the University of Delaware this weekend. After finishing last season 31-26 overall and going to the CAA semifinals, McPhee is now hoping that the Huskies can improve on that result.

Most pressing right now for Northeastern is defending their 2013 Beanpot title. Key for that win and any other success that Northeastern will have this season is their pitching. The Huskies pitching staff has excelled so far this season, leading the CAA with a 3.00 earned run average. paced by senior pitcher Chris Carmain.

Whether his final season ends with a conference championship or a disappointment, McPhee will go down as one of the most decorated coaches in Huskies history. Nothing, however, would be more fitting for the winningest coach in school history than a late-season surge to help end his illustrious career with yet another conference title.

The student newspaper of Northeastern University
Sports Column: Farewell Tour