After 20 years, 200 plus wins, and hundreds of great friendships, Head Varsity Baseball coach Brian Neel has decided to resign.
Neel had been the head coach for the varsity baseball team for the last 15 years, and before that he spent 5 years as an assistant coach. As a coach he has won and lost, but he says his favorite memories include winning the Greater Kalamazoo tournament in 2010, and most of all, building relationships with his players and making a positive impact on them.
“It was a tough decision, but it was the right one,” said Neel. The decision was made final by Neel on September 8th after giving it some serious thought over the summer.
The decision was a back and forth thought running through Neel’s mind all summer. Between continuing coaching or using the time to spend with his family and watching his sons Brady (10th grade at Mattawan) and Parker (7th Grade at Mattawan) play baseball.
“It’s important for a father to be at their son’s games, and watch them perform,” said Neel and this ultimately led to his decision of resigning.
Junior baseball player James Rinehart said “I’m disappointed that I only got 1 year with him, but it was really great having someone around (Neel) who had a lot of experience,” Rinehart along with many other players are sad that Neel is leaving.
“I’m going to miss him a lot, but I really appreciated his dedication to work with us and his desire for us to be successful,” said Senior baseball player Traver Parlato.
Neel plans to stick around and help out if players and coaches ever need anything to make the transition a little smoother. A new coach is yet to be decided but Neel plans to have some input on the decision. Whoever the new coach may be, they certainly will have some big shoes to fill.