The 2009 Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association clinic featured great speakers
from all over the country, but the weekend truly belonged to Jack
Branon, John Dickerson, Robert Haegele, Tom Randall, John “Spark”
Sankal and Tom Schreck – the five newest members of the OHSBCA Hall of Fame.
COLUMBUS – “Let’s Play 2” headlined last week’s 2009 OHSBCA Clinic at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus. Great speakers from all over the country broke down various aspects of the game over the three-day clinic; however, the weekend truly belonged to Jack Branon, John Dickerson, Robert Haegele, Tom Randall, John “Spark” Sankal and Tom Schreck as these five made up the Class of 2009 for the OHSBCA Hall of Fame.
Jack Branon coached 22 seasons of high school baseball in southeastern Ohio. Starting in 1970 at Franklin Furnace Green, Branon won two conference titles in as many years before moving to Wheelersburg. Over the next 20 seasons as the head coach of the Pirates, he won 325 games – giving him 357 overall – including the 1996 Division III State Championship. Branon’s Wheelersburg program also won the State Poll Championship in 1996, 1997, and 1999. Branon was presented his great honor by his brother Dave Branon.
John Dickerson spent 13 years as the assistant commissioner with the OHSAA. Over his time in this position, he conducted several administrative duties for several sports, and he has been instrumental in helping the integrity of high school baseball grow in the Buckeye state. As an official, an interpreter, and an educator, Dickerson has helped student-athletes in a variety of roles for the past four decades. His award was presented by his close friend Hank Zaborniak.
Robert Haegele – better known as Bob – enjoyed an incredible, 30-year career in both education and athletics at Westerville North. For 23 years, Haegele averaged 20 wins per season while winning 80-percent of his games. Add it all up, and the legendary coach totaled 472 wins. His program’s facilities were always known as one of the premier facilities in all of Ohio. Paul Campbell from Chillicothe presented Haegele his great honor at Friday’s banquet.
Tom Randall coached the Kenton Ridge baseball program for 29 seasons where he compiled 524 wins and 10 Central Buckeye Conference Championships. Kenton Ridge advanced to the Final Four in 1989 and finished as the Division II State Runner-up in 2007. Randall has coached forty-five players who went on to play college ball and four (Dave Burba, Rick White, Greg Beals, and Dustin Hermanson) were drafted to play professionally. Randall’s presenter was Dave Randall.
John “Spark” Sankal was hired as the head baseball coach at Eastlake North High School during the 1979-1980 school year and 439 wins later he enters the hall as one of the most storied coaches in state history. Spark coached in the tradition rich baseball conference known as the Greater Cleveland Conference – a league that contained seven coaches who recorded over 300 total career wins. Former player and now coach, Matt Blair, presented Spark his great honor.
Tom Schreck has been a life-long contributor to Wynford High School. Schreck was an outstanding athlete in the late 60s for the Royals before moving on to play college football and baseball for Taylor University in Indiana. After college, Schreck returned to Wynford where he has taught and coached for nearly four decades. Schreck coached baseball for 34 seasons – 26 as the head coach of the Wynford baseball program. Jim Glauer, a friendly rival from Crestline High School, was the presenter for Schreck.
The first-class banquet also included scholarship winners, various coaching honors and last year’s state champions – both poll and tournament. Coaches who hit a milestone victory mark were also honored including Lakewood’s Don Thorp for his amazing 800th career win.
The celebration of greatness was surrounded by talks from college coaches from around the country. Louisville’s Dan McDonnell, Georgia Tech’s Danny Hall and Brian Cleary of Cincinnati led an incredible line-up of speakers who helped Ohio’s high school coaches fuel up for the upcoming season – a season that starts with pitchers and catchers less than a month from now.