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Podcast of legends: 4 Hall of Fame baseball coaches from West Michigan Conference

Brandon Barry, Paul Herremans, Brian Wright and Warren Zweigle have combined for 131 seasons and 2,000-plus wins.

Among the West Michigan Conference’s eight head varsity baseball coaches, four of them have been at the helm for a combined 131 seasons.

How’s that for longevity?

Between them, Oakridge’s Brandon Barry, Ravenna’s Paul Herremans, Shelby’s Brian Wright and Whitehall’s Warren Zweigle have amassed more than 2,000 victories. All four of them are Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductees, and all have reached the 500-win milestone.

How’s that for success over the long haul?

Last Sunday, the quartet of West Michigan baseball coaching legends assembled at the CatchMark Technologies office in Whitehall for a special podcast, which stands as the CatchMark SportsNet Profile of the Week video.

What do you get when you put those four characters, with all that wisdom and wit, in a room and give them mics? An hour’s worth of viewing and listening gold, that’s what.

Listen to their stories and playful banter by watching the podcast at the top of this story.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

Montague’s Kevin Buchberger, who in his 10th season as the Wildcats’ head varsity baseball coach, has some catching up to do with the aforementioned Hall of Famers in the conference.

Buchberger has bragging rights for now, however, as Montague captured the West Michigan Conference title this season with a 14-0 league record. He holds a great deal of respect for the four coaches.

“They always have their teams up and competing no matter what kind of talent level they have or don’t have for the given year,” Buchberger said. “They’re always competing, they’re always playing hard and they’re always out there trying to win, so that’s respectful.”

Buchberger said that Barry, Herremans, Wright and Zweigle love the sport and enjoy working with young people, teaching and coaching the game. He tips his cap to them.

Buchberger enjoys listening to their stories whenever he can.

“It makes me want to work with my kids a little bit more in the offseason and get them prepared and ready to compete and beat those schools because they’re so well-coached and they’re always competing. They’re tough to beat,” Buchberger said.

“They’re coaching from the first pitch until the last pitch. It’s refreshing to see and I love seeing that and it’s all about competing.”

Below are capsules on each of the four coaches. Herremans, who plans to retire as head coach at the end of this season, earned his 500th career victory Friday at Howard City Tri County.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

BRANDON BARRY, Oakridge

Age: 56

Alma mater: Reeths-Puffer (1984)

College: Michigan State University (1988), Central Michigan University (1989)

Experience: 30th season as Oakridge’s head varsity baseball coach

Career record: 519-315

Achievements: Inductee in the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016 … Two-time MHSBCA coach of the year … 12 districts, nine conference, six regional and multiple GMAA titles … Four final four appearances.

Photos by Scott DeCamp and Bethany McCullough | CatchMark

PAUL HERREMANS, Ravenna

Age: 70

Alma mater: Ravenna High School (1970)

College: Olivet College (1974)

Experience: 32nd season as Ravenna’s head varsity baseball coach

Career record: 500-445

Achievements: Inductee in the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2018 … Ravenna Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012 … Five conference, five district and one regional title … One final four appearance … Regional coach of the year … 45-year service award for the West Michigan Conference.

Photos by Scott DeCamp and Bethany McCullough | CatchMark

BRIAN WRIGHT, Shelby

Age: 64

Alma mater: Ravenna High School (1976)

College: Grand Valley State University (1980)

Experience: 41st season as Shelby’s head varsity baseball coach

Career record: 591-535

Achievements: Inductee in the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008 … Inductee in Ravenna Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007 … Coached in MHSBCA East-West All-Star Game at Comerica Park in 2013 … … Six-time Muskegon Chronicle Class C-D All-Area Coach of the Year.

Photos by Scott DeCamp and Bethany McCullough | CatchMark

WARREN ZWEIGLE, Whitehall

Age: 56

Alma mater: Mason County Eastern High School (1983)

College: Lake Superior State University (1988), Ferris State University (1991), Central Michigan University (1995 and 2012)

Experience: 28th season as Whitehall’s head varsity baseball coach

Career record: 537-311-2

Achievements: Inductee in the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013 … Head coach in MHSBCA East-West All-Star Game at Comerica Park in 2019 … 12 districts, eight conference, four GMAA and two regional titles … One state runner-up finish.

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Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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