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Fifty Years of Coach

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This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.

Fifty Years of Coach

In tribute to Bob DeFelice

After five decades at Bentley, his story is well-known — his mentorship, beloved.

“Bob DeFelice or ‘Coach,’ as he is affectionately known by so many, joined Bentley in 1968 as the men’s baseball coach. But his nickname doesn’t do justice to the legacy he built beyond the baseball diamond,” wrote President Gloria Larson in a message to the Bentley community last spring. “Over his 50-year tenure, he has mentored generations of student-athletes, transforming lives and shaping futures. And in more than 25 years as athletics director, Coach has played a vital role in bringing Bentley’s athletics program to the national stage.”

Winning Ways

Since DeFelice took the helm as AD in 1991, Falcon varsity teams have captured 112 conference championships (regular and postseason), made NCAA appearances in 10 team sports, and won two national championships (women’s basketball in 2014 and field hockey in 2001).

What of academics? Bentley student athletes have the highest graduation rate in the country at 98 percent, according to the NCAA. Sixty players have been named Academic All-Americans during DeFelice’s time as director of athletics.

Standing Tribute

To honor and continue his legacy, the university commissioned a statue that now stands in the arena’s Coach DeFelice Plaza; indoors, you’ll find the Coach DeFelice Ice Rink. Both were made possible by a generous gift from a donor with great respect for the man and his half-century of impact.

A number of alumni also stepped forward and made gifts totaling more than $500,000 to establish an endowed fund that will support coaching positions in the baseball program for generations to come.

If the tribute to Coach looks familiar, admirers may remember Bob Shure, who created the Falcon statue installed in 2017. Meet the artist.