Nov. 15, 2010
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois University head baseball coach Dan Callahan died Monday at his home in Carterville, Ill.
Callahan, 52, lost a courageous battle with neurotropic melanoma, a rare form of skin cancer. He is survived by his wife, Stacy, daughters, Alexa (19) and Carly (14), and parents Ann and Gene.
Funeral arrangements are pending and the University will announce its plans to pay tribute to Callahan's life at a later date.
"This is a tremendous loss and very sad day not only for the baseball program, its alumni, athletic department, but the entire community," Southern Illinois Athletics Director Mario Moccia said. "He was loved and respected by so many people. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Stacy, his girls, family and friends."
Callahan, the second-winningest coach in Saluki history, compiled a 442-447-1 record in 16 seasons as head coach at Southern Illinois. Prior to his hiring at SIU on July 6, 1994, Callahan spent five seasons as the head coach at Eastern Illinois, where he went 153-158-1.
In 22 seasons as a head collegiate coach, Callahan amassed a 595-605-2 record. He is one of just five coaches in Missouri Valley Conference history to win over 200 league games.
The fall prior to the 2010 season, Callahan received the MVC Most Courageous Award, which is presented to a student-athlete, coach or university administrator who demonstrates unusual courage in the face of personal illness, adversity or tragedy and whose behavior reflects honor on the institution or the conference.
In his time in Carbondale, Callahan produced 23 Major League draft picks and 19 First-Team All-MVC selections. Four of his student-athletes won either the league's "Player," "Freshman" or "Newcomer of the Year Awards."
Callahan was born in Springfield, Ill. As an athlete, he pitched for two seasons at the University of New Orleans and two at Quincy College. He graduated from Quincy in 1981 and went on to pitch in both the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners' organizations.
He started his coaching career at Springfield Lanphier High School before accepting the head coaching position at his alma mater, Springfield High School, in 1984. Before taking over the Eastern Illinois program, Callahan served as graduate assistant at SIU in 1986-87 and an assistant coach/academic coordinator in 1988 under then-head coach Richard "Itchy" Jones.
In lieu of flowers, the Callahan family requests memorials be made to the Coach Kill Cancer Fund and/or to the Dan Callahan Memorial Fund that will soon be set up through the SIU Foundation to benefit the Saluki Baseball program.
For more information on the Dan Callahan Memorial Fund, please contact Kevin Ginther in the SIU Athletic Department at 618-453-5408.