By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Not to call it effortless, but pitching has been a pretty smooth part of Nick Stiles’ high school career.
He holds multiple school Bath records, including for single-season and career strikeouts, and his career ERA is under 1.00.
But the school record he’s on the cusp of holding alone will mean the most.
Stiles, a senior, is tied with former Bees all-stater Brennan Powers with 33 career wins. That means a few things – Stiles has been resilient, beaten some pretty good teams in the Central Michigan Athletic Conference, and gotten help from teammates behind him defensively and at the plate.
“It’s a pretty cool deal. It will be pretty nice to be able to be remembered at the high school for something,” Stiles said. “It’s easy to pitch in high school. It’s not always easy to win.”
Stiles dialed his fastball up to 90 miles per hour last season, and that remains his go-to pitch. He’s been playing baseball since he was 6, and always was a hard thrower for his age. But he learned how to pitch instead of just throw on his 14-and-under summer team, and was a major part of the Bees’ Division 3 Semifinal run in 2010. Bath fell in that round 3-0 to eventual champion Shepherd, on what was Stiles’ 16th birthday.
“That year, we weren’t really expected to do anything as far as win that many games,” Stiles said. “I guess I got something out of it; just play every game like it’s the last one of the season.”
He hopes to take the Bees to the last game of this season to finish his high school career. It could also mark the end of his baseball career – although he has some college interest, Stiles also is his school’s valedictorian and might end up at Michigan State as a student only.
“It would be nice to go back to Battle Creek to play for a state championship, obviously,” Stiles said. “If it works out, it does. If not, I enjoyed my time.”
Click to read more about Stiles and this week's other High 5s honorees.
PHOTO: Stiles started in center field and come on to pitch in relief during Bath's 2010 Semifinal against Shepherd.
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.
Bush, 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.