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Legendary coach steps down at Arrowhead

May 11, 2010

In a shocking statement Tuesday afternoon, longtime Arrowhead varsity baseball coach Tim O’Driscoll announced that he has to resign immediately from that position because of health problems. O’Driscoll, 62, told Arrowhead athletics director Kevin Flegner Tuesday morning about his decision.

O’Driscoll, the winningest coach in Wisconsin High School Baseball history with a record of 742-328, learned of his illness Monday after a visit to the doctor.

"Right now it’s not a life threatening illness, but it’s something that has to be taken care of immediately," O’Driscoll said Tuesday afternoon. "But it is something I have to address and because of that, I won’t be able to coach. It hurts a lot to leave the position. When you’ve been doing something for 35 years, it’s not very easy to step away. It’s a very emotional time right now for my family and myself."

He respectfully declined to provide more specifics about the ailment.

O’Driscoll coached the junior varsity team for two years before being named head varsity coach 35 years ago. He won state titles in 1979 and 2009, when Arrowhead won the summer baseball title in dramatic fashion last summer.

Baseball practice for the upcoming 2010 season is set to begin Friday, and defending state champion is ranked No. 1 in the state in the first preseason poll.

Flegner said an interim coach would be named as quickly as possible. He expected that coach to be named from the present Arrowhead staff. Vince Mancuso, a physical education teacher at Arrowhead, could be a leading candidate to take the job.

O’Driscoll said he had planned to coach the 2010 season and then retire. Last year, he led the Warhawks to the first perfect record in the 11-year history of the powerful Classic 8 Conference (21-0) before coaching them to the state championship in Stevens Point.

"I told my wife Caryl that 2010 was going to be it," O’Driscoll said. "I always said that when I can’t pitch batting practice any more that it would be time to quit. I just pitched batting practice on Sunday for Monches in the Land O’ Lakes. I was getting my arm ready for the upcoming season. But then I got the news from the doctor, and that was it. I knew I had to resign.

O’Driscoll played varsity baseball at Arrowhead and was an outstanding pitcher, then played four years at UW-Milwaukee and was team captain his senior year. He graduated from Arrowhead in 1966 and from UW-Milwaukee in 1970. He began teaching at Arrowhead and replaced Gordy Gill as the varsity coach in 1975. He taught in the social studies department for 36 years and also coached football in his run at the school.

"Coaching at the same school for 35 years really seems like a long time," O’Driscoll said. "I never thought I would coach that long when I took the job. A lot of players have gone through here over the years. I’ve enjoyed my time as coach more than anyone will ever know. I love baseball. Anybody that knows me knows that. It’s going to be tough step away, especially the way it’s happened."

O’Driscoll also had a brilliant Land O’Lakes career playing for Monches. He pitched the Irish to numerous winning seasons and two LOL Western Division titles. He later was named to the LOL Hall of Fame and is also in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. Last year, he was named the summer baseball Coach of the Year and the Midwest Coach of the Year – an award that covers six states.

For more than 20 years, he has also been the official scorer at County Stadium and Miller Park for the Milwaukee Brewers. The Arrowhead baseball field was named in his honor two years ago.

O’Driscoll has two daughters, Meghan and Kelli.

"I’ll be coaching this summer, but it will be coaching my grandson in the Nicolet T-ball program," O’Driscoll laughed. "That will be new territory for me. But it’s going to be fun. My grandson is looking forward to having his grandpa as his coach."

O'Driscoll file

Tim O’Driscoll was the fifth coach in Arrowhead baseball history, following Al Vandertie, Wally Geske, Ken Schneider and Gordy Gill.

-- Overall varsity record at Arrowhead 742-328

-- Two WIAA summer baseball state championships (1979, 2009)

-- Two runner-up finishes at state (1975, 2006)

-- Six state tournament appearances (1975, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2009)

-- Named to the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and Land O'Lakes Baseball Hall of Fame



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