Long-time Columbia baseball coach and administrator Paul Fernandes is among seven new members to be inducted into the SUNY Cortland C-Club Hall of Fame during its 40th annual banquet and ceremonies on Saturday, October 25, in the school’s Corey Union.
A baseball and basketball standout at SUNY Cortland, Fernandes earned acclaim within the Ivy League as a widely-respected baseball coach and athletic administrator at Columbia University.
Fernandes, who grew up in Malverne, N.Y., graduated from Valley Stream North High School. At SUNY Cortland, he was a three-year varsity competitor as a basketball guard and a second baseman in baseball. As a senior, he captained the Red Dragons basketball squad and was a first team All-State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) second baseman in baseball.
A member of Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, Fernandes earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from SUNY Cortland. He received a master’s degree in guidance education at C.W. Post College of Long Island University in 1969 and a C.A.S. in administration of physical education from New York University in 1975.
He joined C.W. Post on 1968 as an assistant professor of physical education and the head baseball coach. In 1970, he directed the team to the Knickerbocker Conference title and was named the league Coach of the Year. He was named the NCAA District Coach of the Year in 1974 and 1976, when he guided C.W. Post to the NCAA Regional Tournament both seasons. In 1987, he was inducted into the C.W. Post College Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1977, Fernandes joined Columbia University as the associate athletic director and head baseball coach. He guided the baseball team to 493 victories as coach from 1977-98 and 2003-05. During that time, he coached 24 players who advanced to the professional leagues, including two major leaguers — the Minnesota Twins’ Gene Larkin who had the game-winning hit in the 1991 World Series and National League pitcher Frank Seminara.
Fernandes coached 28 All-Ivy League first team players, a trio of Ivy League Pitchers of the Year, and an Ivy League Player of the Year. In 1987, his Columbia pitching staff led the NCAA with its 2.12 earned-run average. In 1993, his Columbia team won the Ivy League Gehrig Division title.
A co-founder of the New York State Baseball Coaches Association in 1980, Fernandes served as its vice president and president. In 1983, he coached the USA Junior National Team at the World Friendship Series in Johnstown, Pa. In 1989, he was the U.S. Baseball Federation liaison between the U.S. Senior Team and the Canadian National Team for the USA-Canada Series. In 1990, he was the field coordinator for the Goodwill Games’ baseball competition in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.
Fernandes was a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee from 1997-2001. Since 1997, he has been an NCAA representative at its NCAA Division I post-season baseball regional and super regional competitions across the nation, where the winners advance to the College World Series.
In 2001, the All-America Football Committee named Fernandes as its Outstanding Associate Athletics Director. Within his community, he co-founded and co-directed the Coaches 3 Youth baseball Camp from 1977-80 and the Paul Fernandes Baseball Camp from 1990-2005. The latter was the first at the university to serve youth in the Bronx, Manhattan and Harlem.
Fernandes co-chaired the SUNY Cortland Class of 1967 Scholarship initiative that raised $81,715 as part of its 40th reunion.
For the 2008-09 season, Fernandes is assisting the Ivy League office with championships and scheduling.
He and his wife, Kathy Lopez Fernandes, also a 1967 Cortland graduate, have two children, Paul Jr. and Leigh Anne.