Coughlin gets honored in Hall of Excellence

Former New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin accepted Little League’s highest honor yesterday as he praised what Little League had done for him as a kid and told players to always follow their dreams.

Coughlin was enshrined into the Hall of Excellence at the Little League World Series yesterday before throwing the first pitch in the?United States championship game.

“I have many vivid and cherished memories of my Little League experience,” said Coughlin who attributed much of his early development as a coach and player to being a part of Little League. “I have many firsts. The first time I wore a uniform, the first time I participated in organized athletics, the first time I was coached and became a member of a team (and) the first time I played in front of fans.”

Coughlin was the head coach for the New York Giants from 2004 to 2015. Under Coughlin, the Giants won two Super Bowls, beating the New England?Patriots both times.

“Mr. Coughlin approached his coaching career, both in college and the National Football League with passion, commitment, leadership, hard work, as well as a deep appreciation of the players all of these are tenants of the Little League program,” said Little League President and CEO Stephen Keener. “Mr. Coughlin leads by example both on and off the field, and we are honored to enshrine him into the Little League Hall of Excellence.”

“I am honored to be a part of such an impressive group,” Coughlin said, citing George W. Bush’s acceptance of the honor in 2001.

Coughlin’s acceptance speech centered around the importance of Little League to him but also what he felt others could learn from the ideals players learn in the league.

“Yes we come in all shapes and sizes. All colors, all religions. All languages. Our nation and our world can learn a great deal from the young men and women who have come forth with no agenda and with the spirit of cooperation,” Coughlin said. “A desire to participate in something bigger than themselves. Asking only of them that they give great effort, have fun, play hard, and as a result, learn more about themselves.”

Coughlin left the audience and the players on the field telling them about the importance of family in an event like Little League and how crucial it is that young people dream big.

“Little League baseball at my hometown was about family. Mom and dad organized the league and dads coached the team,” Coughlin said. “I was the youngest of seven. My mom, dad, sisters and brother would come watch me play.

“Being a Little Leaguer is to be a dreamer and I love to say that to young people. Dream. Dream,” Coughlin said. “We all did. Dream about being a Dodger, a Cardinal, a Met.”