Heritage Coach 'Connects' for Milestone
By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com
May 2, 2017
Baseball has always been a big part of Bob Andrezejewski’s life.
“I was one of those guys that would sneak a radio in his bed when he was younger to listen to the Tiger ballgame,” Andrezejewski said. “This was back when I was 8, 9, 10-years old. I’ve always been a big baseball fan.”
Half a century later, the enthusiasm for the game is still there for the Saginaw Heritage skipper, who recently became the fourth baseball coach in state history to reach 1,000 career wins.
“I haven’t really tried to stay in coaching to try and get a certain number,” said Andrezejewski, who began his career in Bridgeport in 1970 before coming to Saginaw Heritage in 1996. “There are more positives than any kind of negative that comes up with coaching. Even though I’ve been coaching for a long time, every year is a new year. There are new players, a new direction – that’s just part of the challenge, and it’s exciting.”
Win No. 1,000 came on April 22, when the Hawks – who are now 11-2 on the season – defeated Beal City 12-3 in the Midland Dow Tournament. He entered the season with a 996-440 career record, and joins Pat O’Keefe of Grand Ledge, Larry Tuttle of Blissfield and Frank Sumbera of Grosse Pointe North in the state’s 1,000-win club.
While Andrezejewski said he hasn’t taken the time to think about reaching the milestone, his players certainly knew it was coming up and were excited to be part of the team that helped their coach reach it.
“It’s an honor to be part of the team that got that win for him, but I pitched in that game, so it was even more memorable for me to be able to contribute like that,” Heritage senior Brendan Jackson said. “To do it in that fashion, it really made it even more special.”
Andrezejewski was born and raised in Saginaw and attended Saginaw Arthur Hill High School, where he played football, basketball and baseball. He attended Central Michigan University before coming back to the Saginaw area and joining the Bridgeport baseball coaching staff as the junior varsity coach in 1970. He stayed in that position for three seasons before taking over the varsity position.
In more than 20 seasons at Bridgeport, through the spring of 1994, Andrezejewski had a 449-257 record.
“Then I took a year off – I wanted to concentrate more on my family,” he said. “I took a year off, and the opportunity came and they wanted me to try out for the head baseball job in Heritage, since I lived in the community. I said, ‘OK, I’ll do that for a year or so.’”
Twenty years, 558 wins, five Saginaw Valley League titles, six District titles, three Regional titles and three MHSAA Semifinal appearances later, Andrezejewski is still at Heritage, and still going strong.
“He’s definitely an old school guy, but in a good way,” Jackson said. “He’s a great leader, and he’s able to motivate his players to get things done, as you can see. He’s able to connect with his players.”
During a career that has spanned more than 40 years, Andrezejewski has plenty of special memories, but didn’t want to single any out as favorites. Instead, he said, it’s the relationships he’s made at both schools that really stick out to him. He still communicates with players he coached in the 1970s, and it’s things like that which stand out more than championships.
“We’ve had teams that were very, very good that went a long ways, and we had teams that were very, very good that didn’t get out of the Districts,” Andrezejewski said. “We’ve had teams that were maybe mediocre that had things click at the right time. That’s what makes baseball so much fun, because it’s so unpredictable. Just because you have a real good team or an average team, it doesn’t mean you’re going to come out on top or make it through. One game should not make the season.”
Perhaps that’s why Andrezejewski’s rallying cry isn’t to go out and win the game, but to go out and play your best. It’s something that has stuck with his players.
“He doesn’t care about winning or losing, he cares about us going out and playing our hardest,” Heritage senior outfielder and pitcher Noah Marcoux said. “He just wants us to go out and give it our best, and winning or losing, that will come.”
It’s a message that has resonated generation after generation for Andrezejewski. So even though he’s coached through five different decades, he’s still reaching and motivating his players.
“I’m a firm believer that baseball is really a timeless sport, and being able to connect through that is really the key to getting your guys fired up and ready to go,” Jackson said. “He has so much baseball wisdom with the experiences he’s had and the teams he’s coached, you can’t not give the guy respect. And even beside that, he’s just a great guy.”
Paul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at email@example.com with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.
PHOTOS: (Top) Heritage coach Bob Andrezejewski reached 1,000 wins as a high school baseball coach April 22; here he instructs Devin Sutter before his at bat against Flint Carman-Ainsworth on April 24. (Middle) Andrezejewski was selected to be part of the coaching staff for the first North/South Baseball Classic with high school players from Bay City and Saginaw taking on players from Flint on July 15, 2015, at Dow Diamond. (Photos by Lamont Lenar/Township View).
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.
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.