Centreville Aiming to Take Next Step

By Wes Morgan
Special for MHSAA.com

April 12, 2016

The sleepy village of Centreville was even quieter last June 13 when seemingly every resident trekked to East Lansing to watch the Bulldogs’ varsity baseball team take on Muskegon Catholic Central in the MHSAA Division 4 championship game.

“When we were at Michigan State last year, what’s funny is that, we’re in a small town, but the whole small town was at Michigan State,” Centreville coach Mike Webster said. “If you were in Centreville that day, the bank could have been robbed; the grocery store could have been robbed. We had the directors of the MHSAA come up to us and tell us we had the biggest crowd out of anybody — Division 1, 2, 3 or 4 schools.

“That lets you know that this town was waiting for something like that. The support is there and my phone has been off the hook since that day last year. I know we’ll have that fan support and school support. It makes it that much more fun.”

It was a historic run for the Bulldogs last spring, one that included a 29-2 record, a Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph East championship, the program’s first Regional crown and a spot in the penultimate game. The Bulldogs fell to MCC by a score of 10-8 to finish as Division 4 runner-up.

Now there’s only one goal: Win it all.

In order to meet that expectation, the preseason No. 2-ranked team in D4 will have to rely heavily on the right arm of senior pitcher Michael Kool, who had a remarkable 0.97 ERA in 2015. The recent Calvin College commit said, “I just got to trust my stuff like I did last year.”

That’s even easier to do with the gloves supporting him.

“I have to trust my defense behind me,” he added. “I wouldn’t have a below 1.00 ERA without the defensive players behind me.”

Helping Kool pick up the slack on the mound this season will be junior Coletin Gascho, who posted a very impressive 1.57 ERA as the team’s third pitcher in 2015. Senior Jake Milliman will provide depth on the mound for the Bulldogs, as will sophomore Andrew Stevens.

The Bulldogs’ offense, which posted a .312 team batting average and a .433 on-base percentage in 2015, brings back six of its top seven hitters from a year ago. Seniors Jalen Brown and Nick Kelley are among those returners looking to improve upon an offense that didn’t produce great power numbers last year but was still effective from top to bottom.

Brown, who went on a tear during the playoffs, finished 2015 with a .430 batting average.

Kelley, a rare strikeout victim in 2015, posted an eye-opening .560 on-base percentage during the regular season to go along with a strong .396 batting average. Kool also will look to provide some offense in 2016 just as he did in 2015, when he led the team in home runs (two).

“I think we’re all hungry to get back to the state championship and finish the job this time,” Kool said.

Centreville returns almost all of its key defenders to this year’s roster. Kelley, who along with Kool will make up one of the most successful and experienced batteries around the state, will anchor the defense from behind the plate.

Sophomore centerfielder Nick Webber is a major asset with a year of experience under his belt.  Junior shortstop Brady Reynolds is just as invaluable.

“He’s (Reynolds) a very energetic kid, a very quick kid, and he’s a natural baseball player,” Brown said in describing why his teammate was the best defender on the Bulldogs’ roster.

This veteran group knows, however, this spring will be quite different being chased instead of being the pursuant.  

“We have always had a very competitive conference,” Webster said. “With the returning players we will be having, we expect teams to not overlook us.”

“All last season, our little quote on the team was play every game like it’s a District championship game,” Kelley explained. “This year it’s going to be play every game like it’s a state title game.”

Wes Morgan has reported for the Kalamazoo Gazette, ESPN and ESPNChicago.com, 247Sports and Blue & Gold Illustrated over the last 12 years and is the publisher of JoeInsider.com. He can be reached at wmorgan@joeinsider.com with story ideas for Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Centreville's baseball team celebrates last season's Division 4 Semifinal win at Michigan State University. (Middle) Michael Kool unloads a pitch on the way to earning the 2-1 victory over Rudyard.

Longtime Chelsea High School Administrator, Coach Bush to Join MHSAA Staff as Assistant Director

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

December 21, 2022

Brad Bush, a highly-respected educator, administrator and coach over the last three decades, has been selected to serve in the position of assistant director for the Michigan High School Athletic Association, beginning Jan. 17.

Brad BushBush, 52, taught and coached at East Kentwood High School for four years before beginning a tenure at Chelsea High School in 1997 that has included teaching, then serving as athletic director and later also assistant principal and leading the football program as varsity coach from 1997-2002 and again from 2004-18.

He also has served as a statewide delegate on the MHSAA Representative Council during the last year and provided leadership in multiple roles, including president, for the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) since 2005.

Bush will serve as the MHSAA’s lead administrator for baseball and also among lead administrators for the officials program, which includes more than 8,000 registered officials in all sports. Bush also will be assigned additional duties in other sports based on his vast experiences. He was selected from a pool of 34 applicants.

“I’m incredibly excited to have Brad join our team,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. "He’s been an outstanding athletic director and coach who is highly-respected by those who know him.”

As Chelsea athletic director, Bush annually has supervised a staff of 110 coaches across 31 programs, with nearly 70 percent of the high school’s 800 students participating in athletics. As a teacher and assistant principal, he has served on Chelsea’s School Improvement Team and on multiple committees that provided instructional leadership including in the development of the district’s new trimester schedule. In his roles with the MHSFCA, Bush helped direct an organization with more than 2,200 members and also served as the association’s treasurer and liaison to the MHSAA.

Bush is perhaps best known, however, for his coaching success. Over 22 seasons, he led Chelsea’s varsity football team to a 169-60 record, 13 league championships, 18 playoff appearances, seven District titles and a Division 3 runner-up finish in 2015. During his break in tenure as Chelsea coach, Bush served as an assistant football coach and recruiting coordinator for Eastern Michigan University during the 2003-04 school year, and he has served as an assistant coach at Albion College the last four seasons contributing to the team’s two league titles and appearance in the 2021 NCAA Division III Playoffs.

“I feel like joining the team at the MHSAA is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Bush said. “The 26 years I spent at Chelsea were some of the best times of my life. It’s a professional transition that in the back of my mind, if this opportunity came, was something I needed to do.

“Over time, I’ve grown to care about the bigger picture of athletics and appreciate the role of the MHSAA in protecting high school athletics in Michigan.”

Bush is a 1988 graduate of Ypsilanti High School. He studied and played quarterback at Cornell University before returning and graduating from EMU after majoring in history and minoring in social studies. He earned his physical education endorsement from EMU in 2000 and his master’s in physical education and sports management from EMU in 2002. He has earned continuing education credits in sports management from Drake University and completed the Path to Leadership program from the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP). 

Bush was inducted into MHSFCA Hall of Fame and Ypsilanti High School Hall of Fame both in 2019. He and his wife Laura have three adult children, two daughters and a son.

PHOTO Chelsea coach Brad Bush directs his team during the 2015 Division 3 Final at Ford Field.