You’re a Clare guy, who lives in Gladwin, but a Beaverton educator and coach. So, how did you end up in Beaverton and as a coach?
I ended up getting assigned to student teach in Beaverton in 1992 and coached JV softball that year.
You’ve had a lot of success over a lot of years. To what do you most attribute that success?
We have been lucky to have parents that really took an interest in softball outside the normal season, with travel ball, lessons, etc… We stopped playing summer softball in Mt Pleasant a long time ago because too many kids were playing with travel teams. It was a good problem to have.
Beaverton has had many great players come through the softball program and that includes many All State selections: Would you be able to name your top lineup using players from all years?
I could do that but would not want to leave someone out. We have been very fortunate to have hard working dedicated kids play for us.
OK; would you be able or willing to name your top player of all time and what made her the greatest?
Alix Price would have to be the choice. 3 time first team all stater at Catcher, finished her career with every offensive record we have and is still among the top ten in career hits in Michigan. Alix never stopped working. She was a great role model for the younger girls. I always said her hockey background helped her with balance whether it was catching or running the bases. She is second all time in MHSAA history for career triples.
You’ve seen and coached a lot of games, what is the oddest play or thing that you’ve ever witnessed on the field?
We have had a lot of walk off wins, but one of the biggest was a grand slam by Brandi Butler that hit the foul pole. We were down 5-3 bottom of 7 at home vs Clare and she had a 3-2 count.
Did the softball rivalry remain the same for your teams or change over your coaching careers?
Sanford Meridian has always been a big game for us.
Can you narrow all things down to the single biggest game that you ever coached and why?
Probably winning our first conference title. We needed to beat Meridian in 2003 just one game of the doubleheader at home to win it. Our pitcher Shawna Wood had to come out of the game in the fifth or sixth inning and the kids held on. I remember Kayti Grove/Newman picking a line drive off the top of her shoe at second base for the last out. Dan Whitmer and I started coaching together in 1992 and to finally get to that moment was incredible.
You’re going into the HOF with James Ruhle and Jackie Wheeler; did you have them as students?
What do you remember most about them and as Beaverton standout athletes? I had James as a student. He was very intelligent and a tremendous athlete to watch on the court for four years. Jackie was graduated when I started, but she is widely considered one of the top 2-3 female athletes to come through our school. It is a pleasure to be considered with them.
You had a dedicated co coach. How many years did you and Dan Whitmer coach and what do you have to say about Dan?
Dan and I coached 32 years together. He is quite possibly the nicest person you will ever meet. We have always worked well together and it will be a little weird this year with him retiring, not having him coach.
What would you like to say to all of your players and fans as you enter the Hall of Fame?
Beaverton is a very special place and I’m just really grateful for this honor and getting to coach a lot of kids for this school not only in softball but football too. As far as the players, you are not here as a coach unless you’ve had great players. Our girls have worked for everything they got and it was always a pleasure coaching them.