Hundreds pay tribute to McCabe

MIDDLEBURY — On Saturday, April 9, more than 400 people gathered in Mead Chapel at Middlebury College to acknowledge the life of Andy McCabe and celebrate his love of family, friends, the outdoors, wine, and soccer in a service at once poignant and hilarious, full of tears and laughter. McCabe died unexpectedly on April 2 at age 54.
A 1983 graduate of Middlebury College, Andy McCabe was a long-time resident of Addison County, a small-business owner and soccer coach. He was raised in nearby Elizabethtown, N.Y., and, after graduation from Middlebury, served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines working on water projects. He married Monica Carroll, Middlebury class of 1987, and they had three children — Jane, Shaw, and Duncan — who attended local schools.
After seven years as an assistant to Middlebury College soccer coach Dave Saward, Andy took over as head coach of the struggling Bard College soccer team in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., in 2013. In his three short years there, he developed his team into a highly competitive side.
Last fall, his team finished with seven wins and nine losses, and in Liberty League play (vs. Union, Vassar, Skidmore, Hobart, RIT, RPI, St. Lawrence and Clarkson) were 1-7. However, all losses were by one goal, and for his team’s dramatically improved play, Andy was named Liberty League Coach of the Year. The entire Bard team attended Saturday’s service.
McCabe was injured as a young man in an auto accident and lived his life with chronic pain. Yet this limitation never inhibited his exuberance of life: He loved ideas and conversation.
Andy McCabe was a person who consistently defied convention. He loved to conjure imaginative and unusual responses to situations both athletic and otherwise. His many eccentricities were warmly noted in lively anecdotes by the speakers at Saturday’s services.
Coach Saward noted in particular Andy’s indifference to sartorial convention: his choice of attire was informal at best. Saward described the challenge of recruiting young athletes to Middlebury when his top assistant customarily showed up in boots and paint-spattered overalls.
Saward appreciated Andy’s leather aviator headgear, a gift from his children, which he liked to wear to games, especially when Middlebury played before the buttoned-down Amherst College crowd.
After the Saturday service, 75 soccer players from the Middlebury and Bard soccer teams, and Middlebury soccer alums, came together to play two hours of pick-up soccer on the South Street pitch.
A fitting tribute to Andy McCabe.

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