BE baseball coach Mike Darnell hits 300th career victory
It was a mile marker in life, a journey that included players, parents, coaches and family. Mike Darnell, the successful Bishop England High School baseball coach, achieved his 300th career victory at the school recently when the Bishops wrapped up the Region 7-AAA championship with a 9-5 victory over Georgetown.
The 46-year-old coach said sacrifice and commitment are two of the ingredients it takes to have success. Of course you need to have talented players, but you also have to have a support group that understands that hard work is the main ingredient.
“It means we have had some good teams, players, assistant coaches and families,” Darnell responded when asked about the significance of 300 victories. “For us as coaches it really says a lot about our wives and children. My wife, Renee, and daughters, Emma and Lyla, have sacrificed a lot of family time for me to be the best coach I could possibly be.”
“Overall it means we have had a lot of people committed to the vision of our program,” said Darnell, who is seeking his sixth state title at the school. “(It takes) players and families willing to give up six days a week and work 12 months out of the year. It has taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make our program one of the best in the state.”
Yes, family is important to Darnell and so are the coaches who assist him. While the lineups have changed over the years, there has been one constant in the Bishops’ dugout, and that’s assistant coach Bill Collier.
“I have coached with Bill Collier for all 300 of the victories at BE,” Darnell said. “He has become one of my closest friends. Often, assistant coaches don’t receive the credit they deserve. There have been many other assistant coaches but Bill has been there for everything. There is not a decision I make without having a discussion with Bill and current pitching coach Nick Traeger. He deserves a lot of credit for all 300 of those victories.”
Sure, Darnell wants to win. But Darnell feels he is successful if he instills trust and pride in his players. He wants his players to be committed, and to give everything they have every day. He wants them to leave a legacy and be part of the bond that is Bishop England baseball, and that includes when playing days come to an end.
Darnell is well outside the list of the top five winningest coaches in state history right now, but just give him time. He’s 46 years old and if he coaches 19 more years and wins 25 games a season that would push his total to 775 victories. That would place him No. 2 on the all-time list, ahead of Georgetown’s Mike Johnson (733) and behind Bamberg-Ehrhardt’s Mike Johnson (889).
Projecting scenarios like that is something fans and sportswriters like to do, but Darnell is not participating.
“Our daughters are 13 (seventh grade) and 11 (sixth grade),” Darnell said. “When they finish BE I am going to have to take a hard look at calling it a career. I do have a few really close friends with sons who are in fourth and fifth grades now. They are planning on coming to BE so that may keep me in it a few years after our girls graduate. My wife has given up a lot being a coach’s wife. I know she deserves more time than I have to give right now. She is great, has never complained while we have been here at BE.”