Earlier this year, Old Bridge High School honored its longtime baseball coach Fred Cole by naming the field off Ticetown Road after him, complete with a huge sign on the scoreboard in the outfield.
He’d been dealing with increasing heart problems, so school officials moved up the ceremonies. The varsity team couldn’t even attend due to COVID-19 contact tracing issues, but the jayvee was on hand.
It was a touching moment, with many family members, friends, former players, but still a small sliver of those he touched.
Sunday morning, Cole passed away “peacefully” at home at the age of 74, according to Old Bridge head coach Matt Donaghue.
Donaghue says Cole’s health had taken a turn recently, and his passing had become imminent in recent weeks, and many came by to see him one last time and say their goodbyes.
Word was still spreading Sunday afternoon, and it likely didn’t even make it around Ray Cipperly Field – where St. Joseph won the GMC Tournament Championship Game 2-0 over South Brunswick – until most people had left.
As a head coach at Old Bridge and Madison Central, he was 270-210, and spent almost five decades coaching in some capacity in Middlesex County.
In 2018, Cole was inducted into the New Jersey State Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Services will be private, but Donaghue says a memorial service will be held in about a month so that as many people can attend as possible.