Obituary: Francis C. O’Brien, 90

August 22, 1932 – October 10, 2022

Francis C. O’Brien, Jr. of Reading and Shrewsbury, passed away on October 10, 2022, at the Southgate Assisted Living in Shrewsbury. He was 90 years of age. Fran was born in Medford, Massachusetts, on August 22, 1932, the son of the late Francis C. and Gertrude M. (Hewitt) O’Brien. 

Fran attended Tufts University, where he received both his BA in 1955 and his Master’s in Education in 1964. He worked as an Athletic Administrator, Educator, Head Baseball Coach, and Head Basketball Coach. He worked at Randolph High School, Stonehill College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and College of the Holy Cross from 1998-2004. While at MIT coaching the baseball team from 1969-1996, he had 255 wins, the most in the baseball program.

Fran was a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and was awarded in 2014 the ABCA Ethics in Coaching award. The ABCA Ethics in Coaching Award honors an individual who embodies the ABCA Code of Ethics. He was also the recipient of the Jack Butterfield Award from the New England Collegiate Baseball Association for his devotion to college baseball. Massachusetts Institute of Technology dedicated Fran O’Brien Field on April 22, 2017, in recognition of Coach Fran O’Brien’s integrity, honesty, commitment, leadership, and outstanding service to MIT athletics. Fran was inducted into the Town of Randolph Hall of Fame in 1991, Stonehill College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001, Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1986, and The New England Basketball Hall of Fame. He was Cape Cod Baseball League Manager of the Year in 1990. In 1974 he led the MIT Baseball program to its first NCAA postseason in any sport in school history. In 1992, his MIT team won the ECAC tourney, the first team in school history to ever accomplish such a feat. He was honored as Coach of the Year in New England and coached the New England All-Stars at Fenway Park. He was the only coach in New England history to be named coach of the year in basketball and baseball, both at MIT. He co-authored the book “How to Coach Youth Baseball”

Fran was the beloved husband of the late Claire A. (Sliney) O’Brien. Devoted father of Kevin F. O’Brien (Nashua, NH), Katherine & Paul Bard (Charlotte, NC), Karen & John T. Andreoli (Shrewsbury, MA), Kelly O’Brien (Madison, CT), Kristine Ross & David Reinhart (Amelia Island, FL). Loving grandfather of Daniel & Adair Bard (Greenville, SC), Jared & Courtney Bard (Matthews, NC), Kait (Ross) Carillo & Rob Carillo (Latham, NY), John F. & Cara Andreoli (Hoboken, NJ), Luke & Taylor Bard (Charlotte, NC), Kathryn Andreoli (Chatham, MA) Molly Ross (Chelsea, MA), Kaila & Kevin J. Sinclair (Quincy, MA), Shaelin & Brad Woodruff (W. Hartford, CT), John D. (Jake) Ross, IV (Amelia Island, FL), Owen Gottlick (Madison, CT) Liam Gottlick (Madison, CT), Khloe O’Brien (Boston, MA), Whitney O’Brien (Derry, NH), Garret O’Brien (Nashua, NH), and Colin O’Brien (Nashua, NH), and loving great grandfather of 8. Cherished brother of Anne Green (Merrimack, NH), Maureen Roche pre-deceased (Wells, ME), and brother-in-law Roy Nickerson (Mt. Dora, FL) 

Visiting hours will be held at the Douglass, Edgerley, and Bessom Funeral Home, 25 Sanborn St. (corner of Woburn St.) Reading on Friday, October 14, from 9:30am to 11:00am, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Joseph’s Church 173 Albion St., Wakefield at 11:30am. Burial will follow at Wood End Cemetery in Reading.

In lieu of flowers contributions can be made in Fran’s memory to the MIT Baseball Field Improvement Fund C/O MIT Athletics 120 Vassar St. Cambridge, MA 02139.

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