Tuesday, June 6, 2023

“Coach Lou” of Local Baseball Fame Passes Away

Louis J. Arrotta, Jr., widely known throughout the community as “Coach Lou,” passed away on Friday at the age of 86.

Coach Lou was a retired IBMer who was active in nearly every aspect of helping teach local youth the art of baseball. He served the community coaching baseball for 43 years.

Arrotta was a founding member of the Town of Newburgh Little League’s current baseball site. He also served as the Superintendent for construction at the site. Once it was up and running, he was the President of the Little League and also coached teams.

During the little spare time he had, Coach Lou was the former Chairman of the Town of Newburgh Recreation Commission and the Town of Newburgh Recreation Advisory Board.

Arrotta helped organize the Hudson Valley Rookie Baseball League and became one of its first coaches. He also coached for the Newburgh Junior American Legion baseball program for 28 years. During his retirement from IBM, he worked as an athletic trainer at West Point. He was also an associate baseball scout for the Chicago White Sox.

From 1990 to 2001, Arrotta coached the Mount Saint Mary College baseball team. He was inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame Class of 2013 during a ceremony held on April 5, 2014. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

During his time at the Mount, Arrotta was named the Skyline Coach of the Year in 2000 after leading the team to the Skyline title. He led the team to a 46-29-1 overall record in his two years at the helm.

Coach Lou previously said that his proudest moment at the Mount was the satisfaction of turning a bad situation into something positive. He mentioned examples such as convincing a student to work harder in school, stay in school and eventually achieve success.

“When someone tells you they learned so much baseball from you, but more importantly, how they learned to be a good person and accept responsibility for what they do both on and off the field,” said Arrotta. “It’s a great satisfaction when that happens because a coach can make a difference in one’s performance.”

Arrotta began his coaching career after enjoying a successful run as a baseball player himself. He played American Legion baseball for Newburgh and went on to play semi-professional baseball for the Newburgh Shapiro Jewels. He was a player for the Kingston Yankees, a semi-professional team that competed in the Tri-State League in 1970s. He also helped coach the team.

Coach’s service to the community did not stop with baseball. Arrotta was a former director and coach for the Newburgh Pop Warner Steelers football team.

In addition to working for IBM and his lengthy history in sports, Arrotta served his country in the Armed Forces after graduating from Newburgh Free Academy in 1954. He served in the 11th Airborne Division and then in the 76th Tank Battalion.

In 2014, the New York State Senate issued a legislative resolution recognizing Coach Lou’s contributions when he earned the Lifetime Achievement Award at Mount Saint Mary College.

“Throughout his coaching career, a period of constructive involvement, Louis Arrotta has stood constant in dignity, good grace and humor; he has helped countless players achieve success both on and off the field,” the resolution stated. “Rare indeed is the impressive dedication shown by an individual for the benefit of others which this remarkable man has displayed throughout his life.”

His obituary can be viewed here.

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