It wasn’t exactly the way they drew it up, but Old Bridge High School will officially dedicate its baseball field in honor of longtime skipper Fred Cole Monday, even if the current varsity team won’t be on hand.
That’s because the Knights are in COVID-19 quarantine.
Originally, the event – unveiling a sign on the scoreboard that’s being installed this weekend – was supposed to take place before Monday’s Opening Day matchup against East Brunswick.
But the school still will dedicate Fred Cole Field with a ceremony at 3:45 Monday afternoon. In fact, it will be live streamed so that the team – and anyone else who can’t make it – can see. Another ceremony will be held at a time to be determined, when the current players can be there in person.
Cole coached nearly 500 games at Madison Central and Old Bridge, going 270-210 in that time, coaching 11 eventual pros, winning the Central Jersey Group 4 title in 1988 and the GMC Tournament title in 1989, before retiring over a decade ago. He’s a New Jersey State Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer.
But his impact was felt much deeper, including how he impacted the lives of the players he coached, and even the coaches he worked with.
The idea to name the field off Ticetown Road after Cole was the brainchild Current Old Bridge head coach Matt Donaghue and his staff. And Donaghue credits Old Bridge Athletic Director Dan Dimino for making Fred Cole Field ultimately come to fruition.
Now in his third season (35-23) as head coach of the Knights, Donaghue is a 2005 Old Bridge alum, and played for Cole. But following a circuitous route that saw Donaghue win a D3 national title as a player at Kean, then a sectional title as an assistant under Glenn Fredericks at Spotswood, he took over as the Knights’ head coach in 2018, and brought Cole on his staff as an assistant.
Donaghue spoke with Central Jersey Sports Radio about his nearly lifelong mentor: