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End Of An Era

by Tom King

I was over at Wausau West the other day scouting the baseball team for the Legion baseball program and I ran into Pete Susens. Pete had stepped down as the baseball coach after last season and I kidded him about the fact that he couldnt stay away. As we talked he mentioned that he would be retiring at the end of the school year. The official announcement came yesterday. When a coach has been around as long as Susens has the rumors had spread in recent years that the end was near. He has been the Warrior hockey coach since 1978-79. You would be hard pressed to find many high school coaches anymore with that kind of longevity. And of course, you would be also hard pressed to find a coach and a program as successful as the Warrior hockey program has been. The numbers speak for themselves...a record of 573-233-25...14 trips to the State Tournament...a state championship in 2011 and runner up finishes in 2000, 2010 and 2012.....12 Wisconsin Valley Conference titles. He has the most wins of any hockey coach in state history and was inducted into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall Of Fame in 2012. But his program goes beyond the numbers. Off the ice he was a really nice guy...on the ice he was as fiery as they come and as a player if you didnt perform or werent hustling you would hear about it. The success of the program bred more success as players were drawn to the program, sometimes to the chagrin of the other hockey team in town. It wasnt his fault that some players would rather sit the bench at West than start at East. The search will begin for a new coach but I would imagine they will not have to go too far. Yes the job will be posted but I will very surprised if West assistant BJ Brandt does not get it. He is a former player at West and will be able to continue the traditions that Susens has put in place while also adding his own stamp to the program. Like replacing any legend (and I know Pete would hate me using that word) it may be tough at the beginning but BJ was a player on my first State Legion championship team and played D-1 college football so he has a background of success that should translate well. So what will Susens do now? Well he has children and grandchildren to vist...he says he's going fishing...but I would imagine you will see him at Marathon Park next winter...the smell of a hockey locker room is hard to shake.

The Brewers keep on rolling.5 in a row...great pitching and the offense is clicking. Good to bank these early wins...they count as much as the ones in September. They play at Philly tonight before heading home for six games with the Pirates and Cardinals.

The high school baseball season begins today and we will have a doubleheader on Foxsports Radio AM1390 & FM 93.9. First up will be DC Everest at Wisconsin Rapids..Chris Conley will have the call at 4:15...I'll have the Wausau East at Adams-Friendship game to follow at approx 7pm.

Songs Of The Day (from my I-pod)

Mr. Roboto-Styx (1983) a classic 80's tune...if a bit cheesy

Mr. Soul-Buffalo Springfield (1967) a classic Neil Young song from a great LA band of the 60's and a breeding ground for some the great 70's bands