Baseball Coach of the Year: Tuscola's Duff Hoel
Why: Second-year head coach directed his alma mater to its highest finish in the state baseball tournament. All of the varsity starters were ones the coach had first worked with during their Little League careers.
Season highlight: The 24-14 Warriors advanced to the Class 1A title game, losing to Effingham St. Anthony 6-1. In the team's first six postseason games, which carried it to the championship game, Tuscola averaged 10.6 runs per game.
Season evaluation: "Anyone could have been the coach of this team and had success with this group of young men. We truly had a very special group. In the future, others will measure their success by the runner-up finish in the Class 1A state finals. Coach (Caleb) Englehardt and I, on the other hand, will always measure their success by the fact they all really did have fun," Duff Hoel said.
A few of my favorite things: Chicago Cubs ... University of Illinois ... Baseball ... Tuscola Home Center ... Tuscola Monical's ... My wife's 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix with 320,000 miles ... "Caddyshack" ... First job was restringing baseball gloves ... Bucket list includes getting my boys through college, attending a World Series-clinching game at Wrigley Field with my wife and sons and snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park.
About Coach Hoel: "He is a heck of a coach. He knows the game through and through and can teach us what to do in every situation. He obviously had us doing the right things because we had a successful year. I've been very fortunate. I've grown up with him (as coach since Little League). He explained what we didn't know and made us the baseball players we are today. He is a great man and it has been a pleasure to play for him." — Tuscola senior Philip Meyer