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September 20, 2008

Jeff Hall of Famer Ernie Andres dies

Jeffersonville natvie Ernie Andres, a former Major League Baseball player and head baseball coach at Indiana University, passed away on Friday at age 90 at his home in Bradenton, Fla.

A member of both the Indiana Basketball and Baseball halls of fame, Andres was also a graduate of Jeffersonville High School and IU where he is a member of both schools’ respective halls of fame.

Andres played both basketball and baseball for Indiana University from 1937-39 and twice was a recipient of the Balfour Award, which is awarded to the school’s top athlete.

He was an All-Big Ten and All-American selection in basketball in both 1938 and 1939 and is the lone Hoosier to ever crack the professional ranks in two sports.

Andres played professional basketball for the Indianapolis Kautskys of the National Basketball League and played 15 career games with the Boston Red Sox in 1946 at the age of 28. His career in both sports was interrupted by service in World War II.

As a coach, Andres was the longest-tenured baseball coach in the history of IU, serving as the school’s varsity skipper from 1948-73 where he accumulated 388 career victories.

“Ernie was a great coach of offense, and he taught us the value of earning everything and not expecting to have anything handed to you,” said former IU player Stan Denny. “He was an intense coach, one who knew the game.”

Former umpire Larry Sigler, who credits Andres for getting him into collegiate games early in his career, remembers Andres putting great efforts into building a program .

“He really had to work to recruit against schools from the south and against the best teams in the Big Ten Conference,” said Sigler. “He was always committed to making that school better. It was a challenge for him that he loved being a part of.”

Andres also served as an assistant basketball coach under Branch McCracken from 1949-58, winning the national title in 1953.

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