When Bryce Windham was about 6 years old, he was the ball boy for the Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central basketball team.
At halftime, rather than go inside the locker room, Bryce would stay on the court and shoot 3-pointers.
“He was the halftime entertainment,” SMCC head boys basketball coach Randy Windham said. “I’d hear some big cheers, and I’d open the door and look out and just shake my head. Bryce would be out there shooting 3s.”
Bryce is now 26 and a minor league baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization. Being a professional baseball player hasn’t changed who he is or where he is. Only now, Bryce goes into the locker room because he’s an assistant coach for his dad’s SMCC Falcons.
“He’s ready right now,” Randy Windham said. “He could be head coach right now. I tell him, ‘Once you are done messing around with the baseball thing, you can coach this team.’”
Bryce had a dream high school sports career at SMCC.
He was the Falcons’ starting shortstop, point guard on the basketball team, and was quarterback for the football team. He was all-state in all three sports. He quarterbacked SMCC to the 2014 Division 6 championship in football. The Falcons boys basketball team – coached by his dad – reached the 2015 Class C Quarterfinals. He was MVP of the 2015 all-star baseball game at Comerica Park.
“He’s always been a thinker, no matter what sport he’s been in,” Randy Windham said. “He’s always analyzed the game. That helps. He’s so humble. That’s the best thing about him.”
Bryce could have played basketball at the University of Toledo, but took a different turn when Old Dominion University offered him a baseball scholarship.
“I was nowhere’s near as good at baseball as I was at basketball,” he said. “I didn’t think I was very good. I wanted to see how good I could be at baseball.”
The lure of Virginia Beach, Va., helped push him to baseball, too. It was a couple of years into baseball on the east coast that he picked up catching. After graduating, he ended up getting drafted by the Cubs and is now at the Double A level.
Bryce reports back to the Cubs on Feb. 17. He expects to return to the Tennessee Smokies, where he played last season.
“Double A is where the prospects are. Players are competitive, pushing hard,” he said. “I think they really want me to get some at-bats and get more miles catching on my body.”
For now, in Monroe, he works out daily to stay in shape, hits the batting cages to keep his swing sharp and works at the family business. He will leave for baseball just at the time SMCC begins final preparations for the District tournament, and he’s okay with that.
“By then, the teaching is done,” he said.
It’s no shocker that Bryce is coaching in his spare time. Not only is his dad an ultra-successful boys basketball coach at SMCC, but his mom Kim also has had great success coaching volleyball in Monroe County for years. As soon as Bryce’s high school career was finished, he started to coach.
“I started helping right after I graduated high school,” Bryce said. “In college, I’d come home, and I’d practice with the guys. That allowed me to stay in shape, and I kind of kept the relationship with guys. Once I officially graduated from college, I jumped right into coaching.”
“I always felt like a player-coach when I played,” Bryce continued. “I felt like I knew what was going on, even outside of myself.”
Coaching just came naturally.
“I knew that was something I wanted to do. It’s because of him,” he said, pointing to his dad. “He was my coach from fifth grade all the way up. I knew the game. I tell my pitching coach all the time that if my baseball IQ was as high as my basketball IQ, I’d be in the Major Leagues right now.”
Randy Windham is in his 14th season as the SMCC varsity coach. He took over for longtime coach Ray Lauwers and built on that success and brought the Falcons to new heights, with multiple deep runs in the postseason. He came into this winter with a record of 229-71. A lot of those wins came with Bryce on the court. Another victory during his tenure actually belongs to Bryce as coach.
Randy was ill last year and, for the first time in nearly three decades of coaching, he sat out a game. Bryce took the reins and led SMCC to a Huron League win at Milan.
“I was so nervous,” Bryce said. “I’m glad it was on the road. If it would have been at home with all the home fans, I would have been more nervous.”
Randy said he was comfortable with missing the game because he knew Bryce would be fine.
“I give him a lot of responsibility now,” Randy said. “He’s ready right now to be a head coach. He’s ready for that. Coaches must do more than Xs and Os. A coach must be able to handle problems before they happen. He’s ready for that. I can walk away from practice, and he can handle it.”
“He just knows the game so well. I know for a fact that I could step away, and the success would continue. He’s natural at it.”
Windham said having his son on the bench next to him provides a lot of comfort, and the players like having him there. Bryce rarely talks about being a professional baseball player, but that gets the attention and respect of the players right away.
“He’s helped me come back,” Randy said. “I’ve been around here 25 years (including his time as an assistant to Lauwers). He helps refresh me. In the fall, he comes back and jumps right into the skill work with the kids. That allows me to refresh and have the energy to coach this time of year. I love this time of year.”
For now, Bryce will continue to pursue professional baseball but knows coaching is in his future at some point.
“I’m still an athlete and a coach. Right now, I kind of have that bridge between the players and (my dad). I keep them out of trouble. I catch things before he catches it. I bring a lot of energy to practice every day. Basketball practice is so much fun,” Windham said.
He also has a different perspective now as an assistant coach, but one he relishes. As he said, again referring to his father, “I only know what I know because of him.”
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 Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.
PHOTOS (Top) At left, coach Randy Windham and his son/point guard Bryce Windham confer during Monroe St. Mary’s Regional run in 2014. At right, Randy talks things over this season with Bryce, now his assistant coach. (Middle) Bryce Windham mans the plate this summer for the Tennessee Smokies, a Cubs affiliate. (Top photos by Tom Hawley and Doug Donnelly, respectively. Middle photo by Mike Krebs.)
Foster Loyer’s four-season career at Clarkston from 2014-15 through 2017-18 certainly must be considered among the most accomplished in state history as he led the Wolves to back-to-back Class A championships in 2017 and 2018 and is listed in the record book 25 times.
Among Loyer’s most notable entries were 2,325 career points (12th most), 272 career 3-pointers (tied for ninth), records of 119 consecutive free throws and 634 career free throws, a .921 free-throw percentage as a junior (tied for fourth) and .900 career percentage (second), 589 career assists (sixth), 278 career steals (15th) and 102 games played (tied for sixth).
Loyer went on to play at Michigan State and then Davidson.
See below for more recent record book entries for boys basketball.
Four Onaway standouts were added for single-season and/or career records. Jager Mix, who graduated in 2022, was added for 92 steals last season and 225 over his four-season career. Kevin Pearson, a 2021 grad, was added for 81 steals as a senior and 247 over his career. Joe Sigsby, a 2016 grad, was added for 127 steals, and Jadin Mix was added for 124 in 2021-22. Their totals rank ninth and tied for 10th, respectively, on that all-time list. Jager Mix also was added for 967 career rebounds, and Onaway as a team was added for tying the record for most points in a quarter with 49 during the first quarter of a win over Fife Lake Forest Area on Feb. 3, 2022. Jager Mix is playing at Alpena Community College, and Jadin Mix is a senior this school year.
Uchenna Amene was added for 11 steals in a March 7, 2022, game against West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy and for 97 steals total over 25 games. He was a sophomore at Southfield Christian that season and now is a senior at Detroit Catholic Central.
Owen Franklin graduated from Oscoda in 2021 as the school’s all-time leading scorer, and nearly 44 percent of those 1,477 points came on 3-pointers. Franklin made the state career 3-pointers list with 216 over four seasons. He’s playing baseball at Northwood.
Traverse City Christian sophomore Reece Broderick became one of the state’s most accomplished long-distance shooters in just his second year of high school this past winter, drilling 104 3-pointers – good for third-most for one season all-time – over 23 games. He connected on 42 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
A pair of Rudyard four-year varsity standouts entered the record book after their graduations in 2022. Tate Besteman made the career rebounds list with 762 over 89 games, and EJ Suggitt made the career 3-pointers list with 215 over the same 89 contests. Besteman played this past season for Mid Michigan College, and Suggitt is playing baseball at Spring Arbor.
Success from 3-point range played a significant role in Mesick finishing 21-1 in 2021-22, as the team made 195 of its 578 attempts – with game highs of 15 twice in wins over Baldwin and Pentwater.
Then-senior Tristan McFolley earned the first listing under single-game rebounds since 2013 with 30 in Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy’s game with Hope of Detroit Academy on Dec. 8, 2022.
Tawas found its groove from long range Jan. 10 against Oscoda, drilling 22 3-pointers in an 86-31 win. The total tied for fifth-most in one game.
Although Norway felt just short, 40-37, in its District loss to Crystal Falls Forest Park on March 8, Alex Ortman kept the Knights close scoring 20 of his team-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to make the single-quarter scoring list. He’s now a senior.
Kobe Clark has listings in two MHSAA record books, with three for boys basketball joining those he earned for football during his Schoolcraft career. He was added in hoops for 531 career assists and 290 career steals over 94 games from 2016-17 through 2019-20, and also for 82 steals as a senior. Tyler DeGroote also was added to the record book, for scoring 20 points during the first quarter against Delton Kellogg during Schoolcraft’s Jan. 11, 2022, victory. Clark began at Saginaw Valley State for football and now plays basketball and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and DeGroote is continuing at Rockhurst (Mo.).
Past Detroit Cooley star Larry Fogle has added a seventh record book listing a half-century later. Fogle grabbed 33 rebounds on Jan. 18, 1972, during a win over Detroit Mackenzie. He went on to play at Louisiana and Canisius, and then briefly with the New York Knicks.
Trevon Gunter scored 42 points in Kalamazoo Central’s 84-56 win over Richland Gull Lake on Jan. 17, 2020, including 31 during the third quarter – second-most and just one shy of the record for points during one period. A senior that season, Gunter plays currently at Grand Valley State.
Mark Wittbrodt held the record for consecutive free throws at 70 until 2008, and that entry in the record book has been joined by several others from the Bay City Western star. He was added for his 192 3-pointers, 436 free throws, .842 free-throw percentage and 266 career steals over three seasons from 1991-93, as well as for six single-season accomplishments. He went on to play at Michigan Tech.
Ellsworth’s Jacob Jenuwine tied for 12th on the single-game 3-pointers list when he connected on 11 as part of scoring 39 points total in his team’s Feb. 14 win over Alanson. Jenuwine graduated this spring.
Bellevue senior Dawson Wing capped his three-season varsity career last winter with three entries in the record. He was added for 12 blocked shots in a 2021-22 game against Colon, 107 for the season last winter and 203 blocks over his career. Teammate Caleb Betz, a senior this fall, was added for 12 steals in a game against Athens.
Logan Mansfield capped his Morenci career in a big way last winter. The senior drilled 90 3-pointers over 24 games to earn his school’s first individual record book entry in boys hoops since the 1987-88 season, when John Craig had 132 blocked shots that would have been the second-most recorded at that time. They currently rank 13th.
New Haven earned a pair of record book entries during its March 10 win over Memphis. The Rockets bested their previous single-quarter school record with 41 points during the opening period, and they also made the statewide single-game 3-pointers list with 16.
Whitehall’s Camden Thompson, a junior this fall, earned his first record book entry last winter – and the first for his school in boys basketball. He grabbed 303 rebounds over 21 games.
Grand Rapids Wellspring Prep junior Zeekeal Jackson earned his school's first boys basketball record book entry this past season as well. He made the single-season steals list with 106, over 22 games, and just missed the single-game list with a high of 10.
Jonesville’s Brady Wright was among his team’s leading scorers during his three varsity seasons ending this past winter, but he also was a major contributor defensively. He made the records with a season-high 101 steals over 25 games as a senior, and made the career list with 232 steals over 61 games.
Sophomore Christopher McLavish Jr. made a memorable impact last season with a pair of record book entries. He made the single-quarter points list with 20 in a Feb. 21 game against Flint Powers Catholic, but even more memorable were his 97 3-pointers over 25 games for the season – tying him for 11th all-time on that list.
PHOTO Foster Loyer directs Clarkston's offense during its 2018 Class A Semifinal.