Clay softball coach Brenda Radabaugh knew she was getting close to a career coaching milestone, but sometimes these things get lost in daily routines.
On April 20, the Eagles gave Radabaugh the 400th coaching victory of her career with a 14-4, five-inning win over Pickerington North. The win raised Clay’s record to 13-1 on the season.
“At the beginning of the season I knew we needed 11 wins to reach 400,” Radabaugh said. “With all of the games that were cancelled or rescheduled because of weather, I lost track and didn’t realize (Pickerington North) was No. 400. I didn't think anyone other than my assistant coach knew about the milestone.”
|Clay celebrates after Coach Brenda Radabaugh’s 400th career victory. Front Row: Danielle Lorenzen, Courtney Quinlan, Brooke Gyori, Harleigh Isbell, Chelsea Hornyak, Brooke Gallaher, and Haley Dominique. Back Row: Coach Radabaugh, Coach Kimberly Rector, Lindsay Schiavone, Honnah Susor, Emily Sibbersen, Emily Novak, Hanna Cowell, Tessa Rice, Jamie Miller, Hayley Schiavone, and Coach Mollie Berry.|
After the victory, however, the Eagles ran toward their coach shouting “You did it!”
“My response was, ‘I did what?’ ” Radabaugh said. “I didn't believe them. I thought they had counted wrong. I looked at the scorebook and they were correct.”
The team celebrated with cookies, and a couple of the players’ parents presented T-shirts they had printed for the team. The shirts read: “Coach Radabaugh. 400th win. 2013” on the front, while every team member’s signature was printed on the back of each shirt.
“I didn’t realize that was No. 400,” Radabaugh said, “until it was all over.”
Radabaugh’s career record now stands at 402-150 heading into Friday’s Three Rivers Athletic Conference showdown against her former team, Central Catholic. Radabaugh coached the Irish from 1992-2000 and compiled a 153-58 record, with four sectional titles and one district title.
She took over at Clay in 2001 and guided the Eagles to a 22-6 record and a Great Lakes League championship in her first season. She was named the GLL Coach of Year. Her record at Clay stands at 249-92, with three GLL titles, four City League titles and seven sectional titles.
Her 2009 and ‘10 teams went a combined 49-11 and Radabaugh was named the CL, district, and Metro Press Coach of the Year both years. The 2009 squad reached the regional semifinals.
Radabaugh, who played catcher at Edon High School and at the University of Toledo, said she never had a plan for the number of years she intended to coach.
“Coaching was just something I always wanted to do,” she said. “I love going to practice every day. I can't imagine what I would do if I were not coaching. It’s fun to see the players mature as they progress through high school. I enjoy being able to witness their successes – their first diving catch, first no-hitter, first home run...
“Through athletics, the players learn many life lessons (such as) how to work as a team, how to communicate effectively, how to deal with adversity, how to win and lose gracefully, how to set goals and strive to achieve them. I enjoy being a part of that learning experience.”
Clay senior second baseman Lindsay Schiavone, a third-year varsity player, has known Radabaugh since the fourth grade.
“She does a real good job mixing serious with fun,” Schiavone said. “We always want to get the job done at practice, and she always makes it fun. She really loves softball, and she loves her team. If we have a bad inning and have a couple errors, she’s really confident and says, ‘No one tries to make mistakes.’ She teaches you how to keep your head.”
Clay senior catcher Emily Novak, who is also a third-year varsity player, said playing for Radabaugh is “definitely interesting.”
“She knows what she’s talking about,” Novak said. “She can be scary sometimes, but in a good way. You always learn a lot from her. She was a catcher, so she really helped me grow to be a better catcher behind the plate. She’s made me keep my head and made me grow, from being a little eighth-grader in travel ball to almost being a professional softball catcher.”
Radabaugh said she doesn’t envision her coaching career coming to an end anytime in the near future. She said she still enjoys going to practice, and the games are always fun.
“I've been blessed with many very good players over the years and some outstanding assistant coaches,” Radabaugh said. “Without them, none of this would be possible. Many years ago I received some very good advice: Surround yourself with people who know more than you do.
“I keep that in mind when I’m filling spots on our coaching staff. I try to find people whose strengths are my weaknesses. Without the support of all of these people, none of this would have been possible.”