1945 Founding Fathers
Year: 2009 Inductee

In 1945, a group of college baseball coaches gathered in New York City to formulate ideas for the promotion and improvement of the collegiate game. Coach Eppy Barnes, Colgate University, and coach Joe Bedenk, Pennsylvania State University, originated the idea that college baseball needed organization and direction. Prior to 1945, a survey revealed that only one-third of the more than 600 colleges were playing baseball. More than 140 coaches responded to the survey approving the formation of a college baseball coaching organization.

The first meeting was held at the New York Athletic Club on June 29, 1945. Twenty-seven coaches were in attendance. Presentations were made urging college coaches to organize so they could better promote the game, help gather national statistics and cooperate with professional baseball. Former college coach and President of the Brooklyn Dodgers Branch Rickey was one of the speakers. It was determined that a constitution would be written. The name of the new organization was to be named the American Association of College Baseball Coaches (AACBC). It was voted that each member would pay dues, which were set at five dollars for active members and two dollars for allied members.

The first elected officers were: President - Eppy Barnes, Colgate University; First Vice President - Ray Fisher, University of Michigan; Second Vice President - Clint Evans, University of California; Third Vice President - Red Rolfe, Yale University; and Secretary/Treasurer - George "Lefty" James, Cornell University.

The founding fathers decided they would hold meetings (conventions) each year and they would be held with the NCAA meeting.

The officers elected at the July, 1945 meeting were selected to serve one more year. Eppy Barnes has been the only president of the organization to serve two terms.

In January, 1946 in the city of St. Louis, the second convention of the AACBC was held with approximately 60 members in attendance. Items of discussion included: All-America teams, a playoff system, promoting the game, creation of conferences and leagues, and problems with early signings by professional baseball.

Since those early years, the Association has grown to over 8,000 members with members from more than 20 different countries. By 1980, the AACBC's membership had broadened significantly to include coaches other than just college members. At the January, 1981 convention held in Miami, the membership voted to change the name of the Association to the present name of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).