American Baseball Coaches Association Board and Hall of Fame member Henry "Irish" O'Reilly passed away on Monday, October 15, 2018. O'Reilly spent 38 years as a head coach at the collegiate and high school levels.
Across his nearly four decades as a head coach, O'Reilly amassed over 1,200 victories with 30 of his 38 teams enjoying a winning season. O'Reilly was named the head baseball coach at Lewis University in 1979. He spent 29 years at the helm of the Flyers program compiling 982 victories and earning six Grand Lakes Valley Conference Coach (GLVC) of the Year honors.
In his first two seasons at Lewis, which were the program's final seasons as part of the NAIA, O'Reilly coached the Flyers to back-to-back NAIA Tournament appearances. The team finished the 1980 season as national runner-up and won a school-record 61 games. O'Reilly was named NAIA Area Coach of the Year.
O'Reilly led the Flyers' transition into NCAA Division II where the team would because a powerhouse. Lewis placed among the top five at the NCAA Div. II Championship five times under O'Reilly's leadership. They also won six GLVC titles, including three straight from 1985-1987. O'Reilly was named the North Central Region Coach of the Year on five occassions.
Before arriving at Lewis, O'Reilly served four years as head baseball coach and Director of Athletics at Kankakee Community College, where he led his 1974 team to the NJCAA National Tournament. He also spent five seasons as head coach at his high school alma mater, Bishop McNamara (formerly St. Patrick Central) in Kankakee, Illinois.
O'Reilly was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2008, the Illinois State University Hall of Fame in 1983, the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988, the Bishop McNamara High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Lewis University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. Lewis University also honored O'Reilly by retiring his No. 14 jersey in 2014 and he was honored with the ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award at the 2018 ABCA Convention in Indianapolis.