The Monmouth College softball team is in mourning after the passing of the team’s pitching coach, Jeff “Fluff” Tyrrell, who suffered a fatal heart attack Tuesday morning.
A longtime coach who enjoyed success on the high school level, Tyrrell joined John Goddard’s staff at Monmouth in 2009. The “bigger-than-life” Tyrrell used his unique style and attention to the tiniest detail to transform the Scots’ pitching staff into one of the best in the Midwest Conference. The 2012 squad produced their lowest team ERA since 2004 and was ranked third in the conference.
The Fighting Scots lowered their team ERA in each of Tyrrell’s four years and threw five shutouts last season – one off the team record – as Monmouth qualified for the Midwest Conference Tournament for the fifth straight year. Monmouth tied the school record with 22 wins in 2011, when the Scots implemented a six-person pitcher-by-committee approach before reverting to the more traditional rotation last season.
In Tyrrell’s first season, the Scots produced their second consecutive Midwest Conference Pitcher of the Year and set the team record with 184 strikeouts in 36 games. The Scots produced two MWC Pitchers of the Year and three all-conference hurlers during Tyrrell’s tenure.
Tyrrell’s first two years at Monmouth coincided with his pitching coach duties at nearby United High School. The Red Storm reached the state championship game twice in a three-year span with Tyrrell on the staff, and placed third the other year.
In addition to coaching at Monmouth College and United, he also coached and taught at AlWood, Yorkwood, Rochester and Monmouth. His 46-year teaching career also included time at Abingdon High School and, most recently, Knoxville Junior High School. He officiated area football, basketball and ASA softball for many years.
"I really enjoyed my time with him while I was a sports reporter, the father of one of his pitching students and as a coaching colleague at Monmouth," said MC soccer coach Barry McNamara. "My daughter was always very eager to attend his pitching workouts and receive his instruction, and I'm sure that the many other students and athletes he connected with felt the same way. He will be greatly missed."
Funeral services will be Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. at North Henderson United Methodist Church, North Henderson. Friends may call after 3 p.m. on Nov. 8, with family present from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Alexis Fieldhouse, Alexis. Memorial may be made to United softball, United golf, or the National Parkinson Foundation. Online condolences may be left at www.hooverhall.com.