Fallbrook’s Jim O’Brien named to American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame

Fallbrook resident and college coaching icon Jim O’Brien has been named to the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in Omaha, Nebraska. O’Brien will be inducted during a special ceremony there in January.

In learning of his selection to the prestigious position, O’Brien said, “This is a singular honor, and it is very humbling for an old guy like me to receive this kind of recognition. I wish that there were a way for me to recognize all those who have helped me along the way.”

O’Brien’s successful past includes receiving the national community college coach of the year three times.

He served as head baseball coach at Los Angeles Harbor College from 1976 to 1990, during which the Seahawks racked up an incredible 460-171-2 record. The team won 11 conference championships and three California state titles.

“I have lots of great memories of battles fought and relationships built,” said O’Brien.

Numerous records were set by O’Brien’s teams – one of which was winning 51 games in a season, which still stands as a record.

O’Brien played college ball at Brigham Young University before beginning a teaching and coaching career at North Torrance High. In his 12 years at North Torrance, his Saxon baseball team won eight Bay League championships, two CIF 4-A titles, and one CIF runner-up spot with an overall record of 234-88-4.

In high school baseball, he was named the California High School Baseball Coach of the Year in 1973.

While O’Brien’s coaching prowess is legendary, he garnered significant respect as an educator due to his emphasis on academics and life preparation skills with students.

Letters of recommendation for O’Brien’s Hall of Fame nomination application were submitted by Mike Gillespie (UC Irvine), Andy Lopez (Arizona), George Horton (Oregon), and Glenn Tuckett (BYU).

O’Brien and his wife, Anna, have five children, a foster daughter, and 20 grandchildren. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attends the Fallbrook II Ward, and volunteers his time serving the San Diego Temple.

5 Responses to "Fallbrook’s Jim O’Brien named to American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame"

  1. Jim Morrison   August 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Jim O’Brien may have been a great coach but I know him to be an even better man: A man of exceptional character, integrity, service, and compassion. His contributions to the youth that played for him, and all those that have known him, far exceeds his accomplishments as a baseball coach. That Hall of Fame as awaits him.

    Reply
  2. Vernon Curtis   September 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Coach O’Brien will always have a place in my heart. My Uncle, Gino Curtis, was Coach’s Equipment manager for most of the time he spent with LAHC as both a coach and as the athletic director. Coach always had a sense of class and strength that he showed both on and off the field. I may have been young but I will always remember running around the LAHC athletic area helping every little way I could. Thank you Coach. You are a true inspiration and have done nothing short of amazing things with the LAHC sports program. I salute you and your wonderful family. This is an honor that is WELL deserved. I just wish I could be there to show my support.

    Reply
  3. John J. Palica   November 1, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Coach O’Brien was easily the best baseball coach I ever played for. That includes coaches from UCLA and the professional ranks. I played for Charlie Manuel (Skipper for the Philadelphia Phillies for years) and he couldn’t hold a candle next to Coach O’Brien. He was a motivator like none other. He made stars out of ordinary to good HS players. He devoted himself to his teams. He actually listened to player’s suggestions at times when someone felt they had a good idea in a game. No one is that humble now a days. Coach O’Brien got me drafted in the first round and made me the best player I could be. He gave me a shot and with that I was able to live out a childhood dream. The memories of playing for Coach O’Brien will last a lifetime. Life long friendships still carry on today with some of my teammates from Harbor JC. We were pretty good too. 31-3 record in 1979 I believe. Lost to the eventual state champions in the state playoffs.

    I credit Coach O’Brien for a lot of who I became in my life. He truly loved his players and would do just about anything for them. In return he only asked that you give it your all in games. That is one among many reasons why players would lay their life on the field for their coach. He is a one of a kind Baseball Coach and I was lucky enough to have a chance to play for him.

    Thanks Coach O’Brien for all the great memories! You deserve whatever awards you receive for your accomplishments.

    John J. Palica

    Reply
  4. Bill Bordley   November 15, 2013 at 1:43 am

    OB,

    It truly was an honor to have played for you even if it was only American Legion. Like John Palica said, I also played for some famous coaches and managers. No one was as committed to their craft as you were. The ultimate competitor, best field judgement and leadership skills I ever saw. If I’m going to war, OB is the one I want to follow!

    I hope to see you in Omaha!

    Bill

    Reply
  5. Jeff Tidwell   March 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Coach Obrien, give me a call some time eight 0 one 414 0086

    Reply

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