Liggett Caps Memorable, Meaningful Run

June 18, 2016

By Andy Sneddon
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Dan Cimini led Grosse Point Woods University Liggett to its fourth MHSAA baseball championship Saturday.

None of the previous three could come close to matching the emotion of this one.

Matthew Gushee fashioned a six-hitter as the Knights downed New Lothrop, 12-0, in the Division 3 title game at Michigan State University’s McLane Baseball Stadium. The game was called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.

It was Liggett’s fourth MHSAA crown since 2011. But for Cimini and his players, this one was more meaningful.

Cimini, who is in his 13th year at Liggett, lost his father Danato to cancer on the eve of the District tournament.

“It’s very emotional,” said Cimini, who added that he began tearing up with New Lothrop down to its final out in the bottom of the fifth inning. “I was crying there with two outs, just thinking of my Dad. He’d have been sitting behind (the plate) screaming ‘Come on Dano.’

“I’m going to miss that. I’m going to miss that the most. And I’ll never get to hear that again. It’s tough, but I know he’s here with me, and he’s here with this team.”

University Liggett leadoff man Connor McCarron had three hits while teammates Sean Fannon, Noah Miller and Anthony George added two apiece. McCarron, Fannon and Alec Azar had two RBI each.

The Knights, who were ranked No. 1 throughout the season and finished 32-4, collected 12 hits off three New Lothrop pitchers. The Hornets, who won the Division 4 championship in 2014, finished 41-4.

University Liggett plans to move up to Division 1 next season.

Gushee struck out one and walked three. The Knights did not commit an error behind him and were the only team of the eight who played in the four MHSAA title games Saturday to finish errorless.

Quentin Taylor, Cam Pope and Carter Hamgesberg had two hits each for New Lothrop.

Liggett scored in every inning and its lead was 8-0 by the bottom of the third.

“This is a team (New Lothrop) that was down 5-0 the other day in the Quarterfinals and came back and won 6-5,” Cimini said. “I told these guys ‘You’ve got to get a lead, step on them.’

“For our team to do what we did this season and save their best game in the biggest game, it just tells you about these kids. To rise to the occasion in the biggest moment of their lives and play their best game of baseball for five innings against a really good baseball team – that was no joke of a baseball team right there.

“I think the game was won before it started (because of) the confidence that these kids had. Nothing was going to stand in their way.”

Fannon, a senior, said the players kept their emotions in check, but were well aware of what it meant for Cimini.

“He deserves it so much,” Fannon said. “He puts all of his time into us. He had to push some of his problems to the side, so it’s really awesome that he got to do this. We did it for him, we did it for the team, we did it for the program.”

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) University Liggett celebrates its Division 3 championship that closed the 2016 season. (Middle) A University Liggett runner charges toward first base.

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.