Three outstanding individuals, all making their mark in the world of sports, will be enshrined into the Little League® Hall of Excellence. Two-time Super Bowl Champion, Tom Coughlin; five-time Major League Baseball All-Star, Torii Hunter; and two-time Olympic medalist in softball, Cat Osterman will all be honored at individual ceremonies during the 2016 Little League Baseball® World Series. Enshrinement into the Hall of Excellence is the highest honor that Little League can bestow.
“The 2016 Hall of Excellence honorees have had illustrious careers, and each started their journey to success on Little League fields,” said Mr. Keener. “Mr. Coughlin, Mr. Hunter, and Ms. Osterman learned early on the value of hard work, dedication, leadership, and sportsmanship, and each used those building blocks to reach the highest of achievements. They serve as tremendous role models to current and future Little Leaguers, and we are proud to enshrine them into the Little League Hall of Excellence.”
Mr. Coughlin, a graduate of Waterloo (N.Y.) Little League, was a fullback on the Syracuse University football team, sharing the field with greats Larry Csonka and Floyd Little. After his playing days, he entered coaching. At Boston College, Mr. Coughlin was the quarterback coach for Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, and was the school’s head coach from 1981 to 1983. In the NFL, Mr. Coughlin was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995 to 2002, leading the team to two AFC Championship games. Mr. Coughlin then became the head coach of the New York Giants, where he spent 12 seasons, ultimately winning two Super Bowls. Respected for his disciplined and fair coaching style, Mr. Coughlin ranks 12th on the Top 25 NFL Coaching Wins list, compiling 177 victories. In 1996, Mr. Coughlin and his family established the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund to assist families who are tackling childhood cancer. Mr. Coughlin’s Little League Hall of Excellence enshrinement ceremony will take place prior to the United States Championship Game at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Mr. Hunter played baseball in the National Little League in Pine Bluff, Ark. Through the Torii Hunter Project, Mr. Hunter has supported the Little League Urban Initiative program. Little League’s Urban Initiative supplies the financial and educational assistance to local leagues to provide all children, from any economic background, the ability to play baseball and softball.
Mr. Hunter was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1993, and made his debut with the team in 1997. Throughout his 19-year career, playing for the Twins, Angels, and Tigers, Mr. Hunter hit 353 home runs, drove in 1,391 runs, had a career batting average of .277, won nine Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger awards, and was named an All-Star five times. Mr. Hunter’s Little League Hall of Excellence enshrinement ceremony will take place prior to the 7:30 p.m. game on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Ms. Osterman, now a softball coach at Texas State University, played Little League Softball® at Bear Creek Little League in Houston, Texas. After graduating from Cypress Springs High School as the Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, Ms. Osterman joined Team USA Softball, where she became the first in the nation in strikeouts per seven innings at 15.4, and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice. While at the University of Texas, she was the first NCAA pitcher to register 2,000-plus strikeouts. Ms. Osterman won a gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics and a silver at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
As a Texas Longhorn, Ms. Osterman was named USA Softball National Player of the Year three times. As a freshman, she pitched the first perfect game in Longhorn softball history - the first of her seven career perfect games and just one of her 20 career no-hitters. Ms. Osterman was a four-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American, and a three-year member of the All-Big 12 Academic Team.
In 2006, Ms. Osterman was the first overall pick in the National Pro Fastpitch draft. In her rookie season, Ms. Osterman set a league record with career best strikeout ratio of 12.5. In 2009, Ms. Osterman’s Rockford Thunder won the Cowles Cup Championship. She was named an All-Star and MVP. She retired from tne NPF after the 2015 season. Ms. Osterman’s Little League Hall of Excellence enshrinement ceremony will take place prior to the 7:30 p.m. game on Tuesday, Aug. 23. She is the fourth woman to receive the honor, and the first to be recognized for a career in softball.
Established in 1988, enshrinement in the World of Little League: Peter J. McGovern Musuem Hall of Excellence is an annual honor bestowed on a Little League graduate (or graduates) who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their chosen profession and exemplify the values learned as children in Little League Baseball or Softball. After the enshrinement of Mr. Coughlin, Mr. Hunter, and Ms. Osterman, there will be 52 individuals honored as member of the Little League Hall of Excellence. For more information and a complete list of Hall of Excellence enshrinees, visit LittleLeagueMuseum.org.
Over the course of 10 days, 32 games will be played in the 2016 Little League Baseball World Series, beginning on Thursday, August 18 and concluding with the Little League Baseball World Series Championship Game, which is scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 28. For more information on the 2016 Little League Baseball World Series, visit LLBWS.org.