High school baseball: Greatest coach from every state

Kevin Askeland | MaxPreps.com Thursday, May 6, 2021 11:15am

John Stevenson, Mike Cameron, Rodger Fairless, Mike Woods, Glenn Cechini among those best.

Some have been fixtures in the third base coaches box for more than 50 years. Many of them have won more than 1,000 games in their career. All of them are among the nation's greatest high school baseball coaches of all-time.

MaxPreps is identifying the Greatest Baseball Coach of All-Time in Each State and the list is an impressive one. John Stevenson of El Segundo, who coached MLB great George Brett; Mike Cameron of Archbishop Moeller, who mentored Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.; and Rodger Fairless of Green Valley, who coached Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux, are just some of the names found among the 50 Greats from 50 States.
Mike Woods, Hamilton baseball coach
File photo by Mark Jones
Mike Woods, Hamilton baseball coach
Greatest high school baseball coach from every state

Alabama
William Booth, Hartselle

He became the winningest coach in the state in 2006 when he won his 648th game, topping previous state record holder Sammy Dunn of Vestavia Hills. That was 15 years ago and Booth is still going strong. He's upped that win total to 1,095 (including the 2021 season) with 488 losses. He's won eight state championships at Hartselle.

Alaska
Ed Conway, Sitka

Conway led Sitka, a small school with an enrollment of under 400, to multiple large school championships, winning three in a row between 2005-07. After 20 years at Sitka, Conway won his final game, capturing the state championship with an 11-10 win over two-time defending state champion South (Anchorage).

Arizona
Mike Woods, Hamilton (Chandler)

The most successful coach in Arizona over the past quarter century, Woods is the only baseball coach the Huskies have ever had. He had a record of 504-197 entering the 2021 season and his teams have won seven state championships. Hamilton was also ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps when COVID ended the 2020 season. Hamilton is ranked No. 10 in the MaxPreps Top 25.



Arkansas
Billy Bock, Pine Bluff

He reportedly never had a losing season at the four schools where he coached. He sprinkled nine state championships between St. Anne's Academy, Sylvan Hills, Arkansas High and Pine Bluff. He set a state record with four straight state championships at the latter school (1983-86) coupled with the one at Arkansas (1982) to give him five in a row. He finished his career 641-121.

California
John Stevenson, El Segundo

No California coach has more wins than Stevenson, who coached El Segundo for 50 years and went 1,059-419. He won 30 league championships and seven Southern Section crowns. Among his top players were Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett, his brother Ken Brett and pitcher Scott McGregor.

Colorado
Jim Danley, Eaton

He oversaw one of the top small school teams in the nation, posting a record of 807-162-2 in 45 years as head coach. He led the Fightin' Reds to 29 Final Four appearances, 23 straight regional titles, 11 state championships and 36 league championships.

Connecticut
John Fontana, Southington

Fontana coached 41 years for the Blue Knights and produced a program that went 669-157 during his tenure for an .810 winning percentage. His teams won 24 conference championships and a pair of state titles. His 1999 team finished the season ranked No. 44 in the nation by Baseball America.

Delaware
Matt Smith, St. Mark's (Wilmington)

Although he's coached 22 seasons, Smith is closing in quickly on the all-time wins record in Delaware. He has 383 wins while the all-time record for the state is 496. Smith has also led St. Mark's to 10 of their 14 baseball state championships.

District of Columbia
Eddie Saah, Wilson

He established a District of Columbia dynasty at Wilson, winning 27 straight DCIAA championships. Saah coached 16 years, won 16 DCIAA championships and had a league record of 210-1.



Florida
Rich Hoffman, Westminster Christian (Miami), Westminster Academy (Fort Lauderdale)

Coaching at two different schools during the late 1990s, Hoffman led Westminster Christian to three straight state championships and a national title by Baseball America. He took the job at Westminster Academy and won two more state championships, for five in a row. The high school coach of Alex Rodriguez, Hoffman won 1,020 games in his career to go with 10 state titles. Two of his teams (1992 and 1996 Westminster Christian) have been named national champions.

Georgia
Bobby Howard, Columbus

The state's all-time winningest coach with 1,008 wins (heading into the 2021 season), Howard spent 31 seasons at Columbus, where he led the Blue Devils to 12 state championships.

Hawaii
Erik Kadooka, Punahou (Honolulu)

Punahou dominated under the leadership of Kadooka in the early 2000s. He led the Buff ‘n Blue to seven straight state championships between 2004 to 2010.

Idaho
Dwight Church, Lewiston

Coached the high school and American Legion teams from 1954 to the 1970s. He led the high school team to seven state championships and had a career record of 673-231. As an American Legion coach, he won 23 state championships, including 12 in a row. His high school and legion record combined was 2,427-889.

Illinois
Percy Moore, Lane Tech (Chicago)

At the height of Lane Tech's dominance in the 1920s and 30s, Moore had as many as 733 players try out for the team. Moore coached 29 years at Lane Tech, winning 13 City League championships and losing only two section championships. His team also played in the New York-Chicago Inter-City championship four times between 1920 and 1926, winning twice.

Indiana
Dave Pishkur, Andrean (Merrillville)

The 2019 season was a big one for Pishkur as he won a state championship, won 35 straight games, went over 1,000 career wins and became the all-time winningest coach in state history. He began the 2021 season with a record of 1,014-284 in 40 years with seven state championships.



Iowa
Gene Schulz, Kee (Lansing)

Schulz is the all-time national leader in spring/summer baseball wins with 1,578 victories. He has 1,754 wins in summer and fall seasons combined with a winning percentage of .815 (1,754-398). He also won a total of 11 state championships, nine of them in the spring/summer, with his 1973 squad going 48-0.

Kansas
Mike Watt, St. Mary's-Colgan (Pittsburg)

The American Baseball Coaches Association national coach of the year in 2016 after winning his 16th state championship, Watt is also a member of the Kansas Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. His team won seven straight state championships in the 2000s and added four straight between 2013-16. He has won over 600 career games.

Kentucky
Bill Miller, Pleasure Ridge Park (Louisville)

Guided his team to 1,144 career wins with 305 losses, giving him the most wins in state history when he passed away in the middle of the 2018 season. He won six state championships in Kentucky's one-division playoff system, including three in a row from 1994 to 1996. His 2008 team finished No. 7 in the final national rankings by Baseball America.

Louisiana
Glenn Cecchini, Barbe (Lake Charles)

Ranked as the top team in the state of Louisiana with a 35-2 record, Cecchini is closing in on 1,000 career wins. He has 971 as of last week's sweep of Alexandria in the state playoffs. Cecchini was the National Coach of the Year in 2020 and his team has won four state championships with a No. 1 national ranking in 2014.
Glenn Cecchini, Barbe baseball coach
File photo by Roddy Johnson
Glenn Cecchini, Barbe baseball coach
Maine
Bob Kelley, Bangor

No school has won more state baseball championships than Bangor, and Kelley is the main reason. He coached at the school for 32 seasons, winning 15 East championships and eight state championships.

Maryland
Bernie Walter, Arundel (Gambrills)

Walter won state championships in four different decades as he led the Wildcats to a state record 10 titles in his 37-year career. He ended his career with a record of 609-185.

Massachusetts
Emile Johnson Jr, Leominster

Led 42 of his 43 teams to the state tournament and never had a losing season for the Blue Devils. He set the state record for career wins with 725 and he won three state championships.



Michigan
Larry Tuttle, Blissfield

Earlier this month, Tuttle went over 1,300 career wins. He's closing in on the state's all-time leader, Pat O'Keefe, for the state record. Tuttle has a career mark of 1,312-426-5, as of Wednesday. According to the Daily Telegram, Tuttle has won 39 conference titles, 32 district championships, 23 regional crowns and seven state titles.

Minnesota
Bob Karn, St. Cloud Cathedral (St. Cloud)

He's coached for 50 years and late last month went over 800 career wins. He's already the winningest coach in state history. His teams have won nine state championships, including back-to-back titles in 2014-15. Cathedral had a 58-game win streak during that span and he was the National Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

Mississippi
Jerry Boatner, West Lauderdale (Collinsville)

Boatner coached baseball for 50 years in Mississippi, 45 of those years at West Lauderdale. He won 14 state championships and he had a record of 1,202-359, the most wins of any coach in the state.

Missouri
Tony Perkins, Howell (St. Charles)

In 22 seasons at Howell, Perkins has reached the state championship game seven times with titles in 2003, 2011, 2013 and 2016. He is 501-225 with 14 conference championships and 10 sectional crowns.

Nebraska
Bill Olson, Omaha Northwest (Omaha)

Northwest dominated Nebraska baseball in the 1980s, winning six state championships, including four in a row from 1982-85. His 1983 team was ranked No. 1 in the nation by Baseball America. He won over 1,500 games between high school and American Legion.

Nevada
Rodger Fairless, Green Valley (Henderson)

In 19 seasons at Green Valley and El Dorado, Fairless produced 12 state championship teams, including six in a row at Green Valley. He also developed future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux. He had a record of 493-80 at the two schools.



New Hampshire
Tom Underwood, Plymouth

Guided Plymouth for 43 seasons, retiring after the 2015 season. He led Plymouth to six state championships, including three in a row from 1980-82. He retired as the all-time winningest coach in the state with 518 wins.

New Jersey
Ken Frank, Toms River South (Toms River)

The all-time winningest coach in New Jersey, Frank is closing in on 900 wins and reportedly needs four more to hit the milestone. He's won five group championships, 10 sectional titles and 22 division crowns.

New Mexico
Jim Johns, Eldorado (Albuquerque)

Racked up 552 wins and 201 losses to finish third among the state's all-time wins leaders. He also won seven state championships including three straight from 1999 to 2001.

New York
Mike Turo, Monroe Campus (Bronx)

Prior to the 2021 season, Turo had won 35 borough championships in his 42 seasons at Monroe. He also has won six city championships and is 1,369-227.

North Carolina
Henry Jones, Cherryville

Jones's teams made the playoffs in 24 of his 28 seasons, winning six state championships all totaled. He set a Gaston County record with a career total of 542 career wins.

North Dakota
Pete Dobitz, Dickinson

Dobitz has coached at Dickinson since 2000 and led the Midgets to more state titles than any other school in the state, capturing five championships.



Ohio
Mike Cameron, Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati)

Cameron coached a number of great players, including Hall of Fame players Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin, during his 39 years at Moeller. He finished his career with a record of 767-303 with four state championships.

Oklahoma
Murl Bowen, Asher

Bowen finished his career as the winningest coach in all of high school baseball when fall and spring seasons are complied. He had a record of 2,115-349 for an .858 winning percentage. He also went 1,063-216 in the spring with 22 state championships. He added 20 state titles in the fall for a total of 43.

Oregon
Dave Gasser, Lakeridge (Lake Oswego), Astoria

Gasser coached at four different schools and won one state title at Madison, two at Lakeridge and two at Astoria. His career record of 750-235 ranks No. 1 in wins in state history.

Pennsylvania
Bob Thomas, Chambersburg

Thomas retired as the state's all-time wins leader with 833 wins in 1,112 games over a 51-year career. He won 22 league championships and three state titles.

Rhode Island
Ed Holloway, Bishop Hendricken (Warwick)

In close to 25 years of coaching the Hawks, Holloway's teams have dominated Rhode Island baseball, winning 16 state championships including five in a row from 2012-2016.

South Carolina
David Horton, Bamberg-Ehrhardt (Bamberg)

The all-time winningest coach in state history, Horton's teams went 889-261 (.773) in his 44 seasons at the helm. Bamberg-Ehrhardt won 14 state championships under Horton, including eight in a row from 1974-1981, tying a national mark for consecutive state championships.



Tennessee
Buster Kelso, Christian Brothers (Memphis)

The state's winningest coach, Kelso has spent 36 seasons at Christian Brothers and led them to nine state championships, including back-to-back titles in 2015-16 and 2000-01. He went over 1,100 wins this year and has 1,107 with 347 losses.

Texas
Steve Chapman, Calallen (Corpus Christi)

Chapman has won nearly 82 percent of his games in 45 seasons at the helm of Calallen. His 1,080 career wins rank second in state history, but is 35 wins behind all-time leader Bobby Moegle (1,115). Chapman has won three state titles and reached the state finals eight times. He also has won 28 district championships and gone to the playoffs 30 straight seasons.

Utah
Bailey Santiseven, Bingham (South Jordan)

Santiseven was a high school coaching pioneer in Utah, getting his start in 1930 and coaching at Bingham for 26 seasons before passing away in 1954. He led Bingham to a state record 12 baseball championships and also won four state titles in football.

Vermont
Orrie Jay, Burlington

The "Orrie Jay" trophy is awarded to the top team in the Metro League each year, in honor of the Burlington coach who led his team to eight state championships, seven runner-up finishes and 16 Northern League crowns in his 30 years of coaching at the school.

Virginia
Mack Shupe, JJ Kelly, now Central (Norton)

Shupe retired in 2009 after 40 years of coaching with a 631-173 record, the second highest total in Virginia history. No coach in the state has won more titles than Shupe, however, as he earned eight championships. He won all of his titles at J.J. Kelly, where he spent 33 of his 40 seasons.

Washington
Kim Cox, DeSales (Walla Walla)

Cox coached for 34 years at De Sales, racking up a record of 670-134 for an .833 winning percentage. He won a state record 19 state championships at the school and made the playoffs 30 years in a row.



West Virginia
John Lowery, Jefferson (Shenandoah Junction)

The only coach Jefferson has ever had, Lowery is in his 50th year at the school (not counting last year's COVID season) and has won 12 state championships. With a 9-0 season to start the 2021 season, Lowery has 1,341 wins and 352 losses and two ties.

Wisconsin
Bruce Erickson, Appleton West (Appleton)

With a record of 500 and 119 in 28 seasons at Appleton West (17) and Appleton North (11), Erickson compiled the highest winning percentage (.808) of any Wisconsin coach with more than 300 career wins. He won four state championships and 20 Fox Valley Conference titles.

Note: Coaches were not chosen for Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming because those states do not sanction high school baseball.