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John ‘Tinker’ Connelly, three-sport star, longtime coach at Northeastern; at 85

Mr. Connelly was a triple threat for the Huskies, earning All-New England honors in football, hockey, and baseball.
Mr. Connelly was a triple threat for the Huskies, earning All-New England honors in football, hockey, and baseball.Northeastern University photos

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John “Tinker” Connelly, the greatest three-sport athlete of his era at Northeastern University, was an All-New England football, hockey, and baseball star for the Huskies and went on to coach all three at his alma mater.

Mr. Connelly, who lived in Needham and died on Aug. 17 at 85, was inducted into the Newton High and Northeastern halls of fame.

He also was the university’s head baseball coach from 1956 to 1981. In 1966, he guided the team into the College World Series in Omaha, bringing him New England Coach of the Year honors for the second time.

Mr. Connelly spent 43 consecutive years at Northeastern, from his freshman year as a student until he retired in 1991 as manager of the university’s Matthews Arena.

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