Courtesy of Yale Athletics

Former Major League Baseball commissioner Francis “Fay” Vincent Jr. LAW ’63 has endowed the head baseball coach position at the University, Yale Athletics announced last week.

Vincent Jr.’s father, Francis Vincent Sr. ’31, was captain of the baseball and football teams during his time at Yale. Vincent Jr. ascended to the role of MLB commissioner following the death of Angelo Bartlett Giamatti ’60 GRD ’64 — Yale’s 19th president — and resigned three years later after facing criticism from Major League team owners for his handling of labor issues. 

The endowment will assume the costs from Yale paying for the baseball head coach’s salary. According to Yale’s For Humanity capital campaign site, which outlines minimum gift levels for endowed funds, a minimum of $1,500,000 is required to endow an athletic coach’s position. 

“We are grateful for the generous gift that Fay Jr. ’63 made,” Victoria Chun, the director of athletics, wrote to the News. “This will not only provide great support for Yale Baseball but honors the memory of Fay ’31 and his tremendous legacy as a Yale athlete and student.”

Baseball head coach Brian Hamm pointed to the Vincent family’s “rich history in the baseball community,” lauding the endowment as a “tremendous honor.” 

Hamm added that the endowment allows Vincent Sr.’s legacy to be “embedded into the roots” of Yale’s baseball program.

“Fay Jr. ’63 wanted a way to honor his father’s leadership, commitment, and love for Yale, and with this gift, Fay ’31 and his legacy will live on through the Yale Baseball program,” Hamm wrote.

Vincent Jr. attributes the seeds of his present-day donation of  “several million dollars” to a moment that occurred about 30 years ago when, after delivering a talk about former renowned Yale swimming coach Robert Kiphuth, then-undergraduate student and baseball player Thomas Hutchison ’94 approached him to seek mentorship.

After graduating from Yale Law School, Vincent Jr. went on to become the president and chief executive officer of Columbia Pictures in 1978. When the company was acquired by the Coca-Cola company in 1982, he later became the senior vice-president of Coca-Cola as well as president and CEO of its entertainment sector. According to Vincent Jr, it was his ownership of a large sum of Coca-Cola stock that allowed him to endow the baseball coach position at Yale.

Vincent Jr. added that the plan was cemented after Hamm and Hutchison visited his home in Florida last month and pitched him the idea.

“This is about a son trying to do something that would memorialize his father,” Vincent told the News. “And I’m doing it for my father in a way that I think combines his great interest in sports with the fact that he was a poor kid who had a scholarship at Yale and turned out to have a very fine life and career.”

According to the University’s For Humanity capital campaign site, Yale has endowed 20 head coaching positions in the past few years.

Benjamin Hernandez covers Woodbridge Hall, the President's Office. He previously reported on international affairs at Yale. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, he is a sophomore in Trumbull College majoring in Global Affairs.
Yolanda Wang (she/her) covers endowment, finances, and donations. She is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in political science.