Freshmen Spark Royals' Regional Return

June 8, 2018

By Doug Donnelly
Special for Second Half

Larry Tuttle has seen just about everything in his 51 seasons of coaching the Blissfield varsity baseball team. So much, in fact, that there’s not a lot of “firsts” anymore on the diamond.

But, when the Royals went out and won the 27th District title in Tuttle’s career last weekend, something new did happen. A 14-year-old pitched the Royals to the championship.

“He’s 60 years younger than me,” Tuttle said about his freshman pitcher, Ty Wyman. “That’s a lot of years.”

It’s also a lot of championships. The Royals are 25-9 this season and in the Regionals for the first time since 2010. The biggest reason they are still alive has been the development of the young players on the team. Eight of the 14 players on the Royals roster are either freshmen or sophomores, including Wyman.

“We started out a little shaky. We couldn’t find our groove,” said Wyman, who doesn’t turn 15 until late October. “It was mostly our defense. Once we started playing better defense, everything started coming together.”

When the Lenawee County Athletic Association coaches picked the all-league team this week, three of the Blissfield freshmen made first team – Wyman at first base, catcher Zach Horky and outfielder Gavin Ganun. That’s a rare feat, even for a coach as experienced as Tuttle.

“They are not just good baseball players, they are smart and outstanding athletes,” Tuttle said. “The success they are having now is a testament to how hard they have worked. They’ve had good coaching all along. They are intelligent baseball players. They know the game. Their parents have done a great job.”

Wyman said his teammates push each other on the field, court or diamond.

“We’ve been playing together since we were 6 years old,” he said. “We always push each other to do better.”

Ganun burst onto the Lenawee County sports scene in the fall when the ninth-grader was named the Blissfield starting varsity quarterback. All he did was guide the Royals to the third round of the MHSAA Playoffs and lead the county in passing yards. He also was a starter on the varsity basketball team in the winter and an immediate starter for the Royals baseball team. During the regular season, he batted .400 and tied for the county lead in hits, doubles and home runs.

“His dad played for our 1992 team that won a state championship,” Tuttle said of Ganun. “Next year, he’ll probably move into the infield and pitch for us.”

Horky started the season as an outfielder but became the starting catcher as the season went on.

“He worked his way into the catcher’s spot,” Tuttle said. “That really solidified our team.”

Growing up, Wyman mainly played second base. With that position already handled, he had to find a different spot to play on the Royals varsity team.

“I just wanted to play,” he said. “I wanted to work hard so that the coaches couldn’t keep me out of the lineup.”

He found a home at first base. As the season wore on, he also became one of Blissfield’s starting pitchers. In the District Final against Dundee, Wyman allowed just three hits and shut out the Vikings.

“I just wanted to throw strikes,” Wyman said. “I knew my defense was going to pick me up.”

Wyman comes from a strong background in sports. His mother, the former Melissa Stahl, is among the top girls basketball scorers in state history. His sister Kelsey was a Class C Associated Press basketball Player of the Year, and he has a brother on the current Royals baseball team.

Tuttle said the three freshmen all earned their spots in the lineup because of their work ethic in practice.

“It’s always been my philosophy that you earn your playing time in practice,” Tuttle said. “I tell the kids it doesn’t matter what grade you are in or what your name is. If you want to play, you have to earn it in practice.”

Wyman could get another shot to pitch Saturday if the Royals make the Regional Final at Clinton. Ann Arbor Greenhills (18-12) plays Jonesville (21-11-2) at 10 a.m. and the Royals take on Michigan Center (24-7) in the second Regional Semifinal.

Tuttle, who turned 74 on Wednesday, has won seven MHSAA championships during his tenure at Blissfield. He has no plans to leave the game that has meant so much to his life. He entered the season ranked second on the all-time Michigan high school baseball coaching victory list with 1,245. The leader is Grand Ledge’s Pat O’Keefe. A District champion as well, Grand Ledge is 32-3 this season, giving O’Keefe 1,286 wins, 16 more than Tuttle.

“These kids keep me young,” Tuttle said. “This was a pivotal year for us, but we have a great group of parents and I have a great coaching staff. I’m not able to do some of the things I used to be able to do, physically, but I still work with the kids. I can still teach the fundamentals, and I love working with them. I’m not going anywhere.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTO: Blissfield pitcher Ty Wyman winds up during one of his turns on the mound this spring. (Photo courtesy of the Blissfield baseball program.)

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.