Howell Ace Waits Turn, Makes History

June 14, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Given Josh Vyletel’s numbers this spring – most notably, his 15-2 record – Howell's senior ace had to have a pretty big junior year as well.

That's the natural thought, especially as this history-making baseball season approaches its final weekend with the Highlanders headed to the MHSAA Semifinals for the first time.

But in fact, he threw only seven innings and spent the rest of 2011 cheering on his older teammates.

“I just played my role as a junior and watched the seniors play. But when I had a chance, I took advantage of it,” Vyletel said. “I was only a junior. My chance was this year."

And he’s run with it all the way to Battle Creek. The Highlanders senior receives a Second Half High 5 this week for leading his team into the MHSAA Semifinals for the first time, and will get the ball Friday against Warren DeLaSalle.

Howell is 30-10, and Vyletel has won half of the team’s games including matchups with No. 1 Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice and No. 3 Northville, and against rival Brighton in Tuesday’s Quarterfinal. He’s thrown 12 complete games with an ERA of 2.00 and 73 strikeouts in 98 innings pitched.

To hear Vyletel tell it, that's all because of the defense around him and the bats getting him that key run in what have been a series of close games. He's quick to deflect the credit, as a humble standout should.

But he's also played a significant part

“He was one of my top one or two on JV two years ago, but last year he barely saw the field,” said Howell co-coach Jason Ladd, who with former Hartland coach Mike Weatherly took over the program this spring. “We played Traverse City Central (this spring), and he won one of those games, and he threw a shutout against Brother Rice. That let us know he was the real deal. We didn’t know he’d be that good, but we knew he’d be pretty good.”

The best sign came in a two-inning appearance last season when the left-hander struck out five of six Hartland batters he faced.

During the offseason, Vyletel picked up a slider and a new way to throw his change-up to add to his curveball and a fastball that he sped up to nearly 80 miles per hour. Among those he worked with was former Climax-Scotts standout Travis Wade, who reached the Houston Astros’ Triple-A team in 2002. “If you have command of two (pitches), you can be a success. Command of four speaks volumes,” Ladd said.

Vyletel has always been one of the better pitchers in his grade, but never the best. But in this season's doubleheader against Hartland, he ended up with wins in both games (after weather delayed the second game).

Last weekend, he drew Holt and a matchup against Kansas City Royals draft pick Justin Alleman in the Regional semifinal. Vyletel got hit hard over his four innings. But the Highlanders came back from a 7-1 deficit, and Vyletel came back to win the Regional final over Dexter.

He's a Tigers fan to the core and a Justin Verlander fan too. "My initials are J.V. I've got to represent it," Vyletel said.

And tied for the 10th-most wins in MHSAA history for one season, there's no doubt he's an ace now -- regardless of the credit he deflects or anything that happens this weekend.

“We just started winning,” Vyletel said. “And winning is all that’s been on my mind.”

Click to read more about Vyletel's future plans and favorite pitches

PHOTO: Howell's Josh Vyetel threw a shutout against Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice in March that set the tone for one of the winningest seasons in MHSAA history.

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.