Rich Donnelly was born in Steubenville on August 3, 1946. After playing both baseball and basketball at Steubenville (Ohio) Catholic Central High, Rich received his bachelor’s degree in education from Xavier University in Cincinnati.
A left-handed hitting catcher, Rich Donnelly signed with the Minnesota Twins in 1967. After four minor league seasons as a player, hitting .230 with 2 HRs & 115 RBIs, he began a decade long career as a manager in 1972, winning the Western Carolina League crown with Gastonia in 1974. His last managerial stop was with Texas’ AAA affiliate, Denver, in 1982.
Rich Donnelly was a coach with Texas in 1980 and again from 1983-85. He joined Jim Leyland’s Pirate staff in 1986 as the bullpen coach until 1991 and then took over as the third base coach from 1992-1996. After leaving Pittsburgh, Rich Donnelly went to Florida with Leyland and was the third base coach when the Marlins won the World Series in 1997. Two years later, he and Leyland joined the Colorado Rockies, where Rich Donnelly remained until 2003 when he accepted a coaching job with the Milwaukee Brewers.
After the Brewers, Rich Donnelly spent 2006 and 2007 as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ third base coach before returning to the Pirates in 2008 as a consultant and teacher and then evaluated their entire system while a roving coordinator among all the minor league affiliates.
Now retired from coaching baseball, Rich Donnelly is delving into the speaking circuit full time with speeches that are both motivational and inspirational. A lifelong, devout Catholic, who as a young boy entertained dreams of being a Catholic priest, Rich Donnelly fell away from the faith in his 20’s, but had a radical conversion experience after the death of his 17-year-old daughter Amy. He now tells her amazing story and prophetic words, “The Chicken Runs at Midnight”, which became a family motto and came true in 1997 when the Marlins won the World Series at midnight.
Rich Donnelly and his wife Bert have eight children, Bubba, Amy, John, Tiffany, Mike, Leigh Anne, Tim and Adam. Rich is an avid racquetball player who has won several top flight tournaments and is considered among the top 50-and-over players in the country. He trains with several World Champions from around the U.S. and often brings his racquet on his trips.