Coach Selby leaves a hole bigger than first base

Coach Tim Selby

VOORHEESVILLE — Coach Tim Selby was a monumental figure on the field and in the community, whose humor and compassion built strong relationships over generations for players on the Voorheesville varsity baseball team, said his colleague, Coach Kyle Turski.

Mr. Selby died on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. He was 70 years old. 

“‘Assistant coach’ was really just his title,” Mr. Turski said. “What he really brought to the team was his demeanor, the way he could relate to the kids, the guidance he could provide to them. 

“When I was reaching out to as many players as I possibly could,” Mr. Turski said two days after Mr. Selby’s death, “the first things that people would say about Tim had nothing to do with the game of baseball … There were so many kids saying he helped them through tough times and was always positive.”

Mr. Selby was born in 1950, in Amsterdam, New York, where he grew up playing baseball. “He was a Yankees fan,” Mr. Turski said. “His favorite player was none other than Mickey Mantle. That’s why he was number 7.” 

As an adult, Mr. Selby worked for Parsons Child and Family Center, a social services organization in Albany, and he coached Guilderland’s Little League and Babe Ruth teams for 10 years, and eventually headed to Voorheesville, where he was active in St. Matthew’s Church.

“A lot of people are mourning Tim right now,” Mr. Turski said. “If people are measured by the impact they make when they leave, he’s at the top of the list.” 

Mr. Selby’s wife, Millie Selby, like her husband, embodied passion and dedication.

“Millie came to almost every game,” Mr. Turski said. “She brought her chair; she’d sit on the sidelines. And after every single game she would wait for him. And when Coach was done with what we had to do, he would walk over to her like they were first dating. The pure love that you saw after every game was just something awesome.” 

The Selbys’ had two sons, Patrick and Rob. Pat was a senior on the Voorheesville varsity baseball team when Mr. Turski was first hired as a junior-varsity coach. Then, when Mr. Turski got the job as varsity coach three or four years into his career, he brought Pat Shelby on as his assistant.

“That’s when I  got to know Tim well,” Mr. Turski said. “When Pat left, I said, ‘Hey I’m going to ask your dad.’ And Pat said, ‘Definitely ask him. He would love to do it.’ 

“Honestly,” Mr. Turski said, “it was, like, seamless. Every time I had a conversation with Tim about baseball we were always on the same page. I don’t really remember what it was like to bring him on board because it was like he’d always been there.”

Mr. Selby’s work at Parsons played well into his relationship with the team, Mr. Turski said, allowing him to approach players and help them with any problems they might be having, whether they were related to baseball or not.

“He knew how to deal with kids when they were in trouble,” Mr. Turski said. “It just came naturally to him, and I know I used him as a resource as to how to approach certain situations when I was early in my coaching career … He just had all that experience and I was blessed — beyond blessed — to be able to absorb just a little bit of it.” 

Mr. Selby brought that same dedication to players at other levels as well, attending junior-varsity and modified practices, team workouts, and travel league games.

“He was at everything possible,” Mr. Turski said, explaining that this allowed Mr. Selby to get to know kids as early as seventh grade, well before they could qualify for the varsity team.

Mr. Turski said that Mr. Selby’s sense of humor was a homerun with the players, who would often tease him for his age.

“They would call him Grandpa,” Mr. Turski said. “They called him Uncle; they called him Old Man Selby. I remember the kids saying ‘Selby are you able to carry that?’ And he’d scream back, ‘I ain’t dead yet!’ 

“He was very approachable,” Mr. Turksi continued. “He never gave off any sort of vibe where maybe he’s having a bad day or not doing well or anything like that. You’d never be able to tell … It was all pure love, giving and receiving.”

Although the players would use familial nicknames to kid Mr. Selby, there was an underlying authenticity to it, as Mr. Selby was in many ways a patriarch and role model for the team.

“Some of the young men we have now,” Mr. Turski said, “this is their first loss that they’ve experienced at this level. So they don’t really know how to cope with it. But simply reminding them of all the positive things that Coach had brought to the table and left behind for us to pass along and pay forward — it’s a tough lesson to learn but maybe there’s some positive that can come out of it.”

Mr. Turski said that he himself counted Mr. Selby as a father figure. “And that’s not being cliché,” he said. “It’s legit. I looked at Tim as a father. His kids are so lucky. And that’s what I told all of the players: ‘You guys are so incredibly lucky to have known Tim.’”

Mr. Turski said that, upon hearing the news of Mr. Selby’s death, the players immediately began figuring out ways to honor his memory, with one player suggesting that, for the first game the team plays without Mr. Selby, they play without a first-base coach.

“We’re going to leave it open in memory of Coach Selby,” Mr. Turski said. “Which, by the way, I cleared with his son Pat, and Pat told me that Tim would be very upset with me for doing that. However, this is going to be the one time I don’t listen to him.”

****

Tim Selby is survived by his wife, Millie, and his sons, Patrick and Rob.     

Calling hours will be held at St. Matthew’s Church at 25 Mountainview Street in Voorheesville on Monday, Dec. 28, beginning at 9:30 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at noon. 

Interment will immediately follow the Mass at Calvary Cemetery at 481 Route 9W in Glenmont. In accordance with COVID-19 restrictions, seating for the Mass in St. Matthew’s will be limited. Facial masks are required and social distancing will be observed.

Memorial messages may be left at www.altamontenterprise.com/milestones.

Memorial contributions may be made to Northern Rivers-Parsons Child & Family Center, Development Department, Post Office Box 8899, Albany, NY 12208 or to Family Promise of the Capital Region, 738 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208.

 

jpeter1093
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Joined: 04/17/2020 - 17:01
Tim

Millie, Pat, and Rob. I'm so sorry and sad to hear of Tim's passing. I always enjoyed his sense of humor and quick smile when we worked(?) together in Scouts. He was a patient, wise and intelligent man that I admired greatly. He leaves a hole in our town and our hearts.

With love,
Jeff and Robbie Peterson

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