Foley Becomes Baseball's 1st to Win 3 Straight

June 15, 2013

By Andy Sneddon
Special to Second Half

BATTLE CREEK – Be it with the bunt, the big hit or anything in between, Madison Heights Bishop Foley showed – once again – it can beat an opponent myriad ways.

The Ventures pounded out 12 hits including four doubles Saturday in topping Grandville Calvin Christian, 12-5, in the Division 3 championship game.

The win gave No. 1-ranked Foley an MHSAA record three consecutive titles.

And the Ventures’ may just be hitting their stride.

“We say a couple things,” Foley coach Buster Sunde said when pointing to the keys to his program’s success. “Nobody’s going to outwork us, and on the field we’re not going to give away anything.

“And, every single game, we don’t play, really, to our opponent; we play to get better, and we want to leave the field a better team each game. That’s our focus. It’s not who we play or who’s after us or anything like that. We want to be a better team when we leave the field.”

Or the best, as has been the case in each of the past three seasons. The Ventures finished 35-2-1 and are a combined 112-8-1 since the start of 2011.

“It’s character, it really is, and that is flat-out the truth,” said Sunde, who is in his fifth season at the school. “We’ve got seniors and freshmen hanging out together. There’s a special bond, and we’ve had it year after year. You can say what you want; you can get that big lefty who throws 92, 93 (mph), but I’ll take character all the time and work with that.”

It doesn’t hurt to have some solid arms and big bats. Both were on display on Saturday at C.O. Brown Stadium.

Michael Murley and Chad Gravlin each went 3 1/3 innings on the mound for the Ventures, and Michael Reid came on to get the final out. Murley started and did not allow a hit, but he did walk five, hit a batter and allowed two runs. Gravlin surrendered three runs on four hits, while walking two. The pair combined to strike out five.

They got plenty of support. The heart of Foley’s order – Nathaniel Grys, cleanup man William Malak and Michael Reid – combined to go 5-for-8 with five RBI.

Foley’s four doubles – one each by Grys, Malak, Reid and Murley -- tied the record for doubles in an MHSAA Final.

“We swung the bats, and that’s what we’ve done all year long,” said Sunde, adding that his players may have played Saturday’s Final with a chip on their shoulders after the storyline in Foley’s 6-0 Semifinal win over Bridgman on Friday was that the Ventures had played small-ball. “I told (my players) last night in the meeting that everyone thinks you’re a small-ball team. So they had a little something in them that they wanted to show they can swing the bats.

“We had to do it a different way today. We had to do it with our bats, and I think we went out and did that.”

They did, and they served notice that they aren’t going anywhere. They will graduate just two players, Malak and Gravlin, and Sunde shows no signs of letting off the gas.

“We try to make our schedule as tough as we can,” Sunde said. “We play the toughest teams every year in our nonleague games, and I think that makes you a better team. When we need to improve at something, we work at it.

“It’s like I tell (my players): each team, every year, has gotten better as the season has gone on, and that’s how you win the state championship.

“If you stay the same team that you are in March and April, you’re not going to win. Someone will get up and get you. Next year, if we can grow as a team as our teams have in the past, and we can be the best team we can be on this day, then we have a good shot. We really do.”

Junior Jamie Bristol was the lone Calvin Christian batter to have multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4 with an RBI. The Squires did get within 3-2 heading into the bottom of the third inning before Bishop Foley scored the next six runs. 

Click for a full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Bishop Foley junior David Chung connects with a pitch during Saturday’s Division 3 Final; he finished 2-for-4. (Middle) Senior Chad Gravlin prepares to fire a pitch after coming on in relief. (Click to see more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

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

By Geoff Kimmerly 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.