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- American football player and coach, college athletics administrator
Jim Myers calls it "the crowning achievement to my career."
The long time Brandywine coach will be inducted into the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame January 21 at a banquet at the Comfort Inn Suites Conference Center in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The induction will take place around 6 p.m. and tickets to the event are available.
"I've been fortunate that I believe I have a gift to teach people," Myers said. "I think we excelled in softball the best and the coaches and kids that I had were a big part of that. I had great coaches that helped me, many of them volunteering. And I had a lot of kids that bought into working hard. And it paid off for us."
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Myers posted a 534-178 record in 19 years at Brandywine, coaching from 1992-2008 and again in 2017 and 2018. His 2001 team won the Division 3 state title and two more teams were state runners-up. The 2003 team lost 1-0 to Freeland in the championship game and the 2004 squad was edged 2-1 by Gladstone in the final. Only Denny Dock at Lakeshore (1,208), Randy Brooks at Dowagiac, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg (742), Mike Welsh at Buchanan (692) and Wendy Goodline at Coloma (539) won more area games than Myers.
"My philosophy was to work hard and teach techniques," said Myers, now 73 years old. "My father told me that if you're going to do something, do it right. And that's what we tried to do."
"You always had to be prepared when you went to play Brandywine," Dock said. "His kids were tough and they didn't back down from anybody. He had high standards and he wanted his kids to meet them. And for the most part they did. We had some very competitive games. I always liked to play Jim because you knew you were going to get a tough, tough game.
"My coaching style and his were about the same. We didn't smile a lot. But fundamentals were everything. We wanted our pitchers to get ahead in the count, play good defense and be aggressive on offense."
"His attention to detail was the big thing," Brooks said. "It was all the little things. His teams were so fundamentally sound. He always had good pitching, good hitting and solid defense. I know he demanded a lot out of his kids, but they always seemed to exceed his expectations. They played their best on the biggest stage."
Obviously, winning the state title was the highlight of Myers career.
"It was a great feeling," Myers said. "I wish every other coach could experience that."
He had some great players with pitcher Nicki McGowen probably the best. She won 135 games, still an area record, from 2001-04 with the one state title and two runners-ups.
But Myers points to another highlight that propelled Brandywine's program. In 1999, his Bobcats swept Lakeshore in a doubleheader and won the Lakeland Conference, the last year the Lancers were in the league.
"That was one of the things that got our program going," Myers said.
Myers excelled at not just softball during his long coaching career. He was elected into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013 and had a 251-139-2 record while coaching 47 years at various levels of football. He was a four-time Blossomland/Lakeland Conference Coach of the Year as well as the Class CC Regional Coach of the Year in 1995 when he directed Brandywine to its first undefeated regular season. He was 85-67 as the head coach at Brandywine.
Myers also led the Bobcat volleyball program for 14 years, posting a 454-241-84 mark.
There were five years of Myers' coaching career that he directed the football, volleyball and softball programs at the same time.
Myers also taught biology and chemistry at Brandywine for 38 years.
This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Brandywine High School inducts Jim Myers into softball hall of fame