Charles R. "Chuck" Bafaro died April 2, 2000 after 71 years of a full, rich life that was highlighted by coaching and mentoring thousands of young people. He was baseball coach at Pacific University for 31 years and won 533 games, more than any other Pacific coach in any sport.
He won varsity letters in football (end), basketball and baseball (catcher) at Linfield from 1951-53 under Hall of Fame coaches Paul Durham and Roy Helser. He signed with the New York Giants baseball organization after graduation in 1953, but was drafted in to the Army during the Korean Conflict and never got to play pro baseball. He did play for years for the renowned Drain Black Sox.
Bafaro began coaching at Pacific in 1963 and won four Northwest Conference championships. He was chosen NAIA District 2 Coach of the Year three times. He also was chosen to coach an NAIA all-star team that toured Korea, Japan and Taiwan in 1970 and was on the U.S. Olympic Games coaching staff in 1980.
"He wanted to give back to the kids what he got out of sports," said Mel Krause, who played with Bafaro at Commerce (now Cleveland) High School in Portland and coached against him in college. "He was an intense player and he taught people the work ethic that it took to succeed," Krause said.
It was not uncommon for Bafaro to stop practice to introduce a former player to his team. "He was so proud of his players and what they did after they graduated. He would brag about you and make you feel like a million dollars," former Pacfic player Butch Sullivan said.
His influence on young people extended far beyond the Pacific campus in Forest Grove. He could often be found at high school and youth games in both baseball and basketball. He was involved with the Special Olympics.
The Forest Grove "Little Guy" basketball program was named after him as well as the Chuck Bafaro Memorial High Desert Classic Baseball Tournament in Central Oregon.
Chuck Bafaro has been inducted in the Commerce High, Pacific, NAIA District 2 and NAIA Baseball halls of fame. His baseball jersey number, 22, has been retired by Pacific University.
Bafaro's wife of 47 years, Jackie, and their two sons, Brad and Blayne, will accept for him tonight as he is inducted into the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame.