Long-time MHS coach Brian Artac is retiring from his role at the top of the Bluejay baseball program.
Artac enumerated 39 years in the program, with five with the freshmen, 18 on JV and 16 as the varsity head coach.
“I got to work with one of the finest gentlemen you’ll ever know for 23 and I took (the head job) because I learned so much from him,” Artac said of previous head coach Bill Helmuth. “I would say Bob Yuska taught me a lot, not baseball, but about coaching. Even Ira (Rebella) taught me about being organized. I got to work with some really great people. (MHS assistant) Shawn (Schultz) is like family to me.
“I’m not from here, so I wasn’t considered a local, but I certainly think I am now.”
It’s not a decision he took lightly.
“It’s not an easy thing to do,” he noted. “Right away one season ends and you think about next year.”
Artac won’t be lost for a way to fill his time, despite his retirement from the tech ed program in 2009.
“Ill have more free time, but I have a lot of things to do. I’ll probably spend some more time at my place up north.
“I’ll still be doing baseball things. We had our clinic Monday and Tuesday and we have two Little League tournaments coming up. I’ll stay on the Athletic Park boosters. I want to see some of this stuff through.”
He reminisced about some of his favorite moments.
“We’ve had some very special teams,” he stated. “How could you not say winning sectional and playing at state in 2010? That was such a great team of kids because they knew their roles and accepted their roles. They knew they wanted to keep playing.
“Other highlights included the 2004 and 2005 teams. The 2005 team got hosed at sectional on a balk call I’ll never forget. In 2004 we lost our catcher in practice right before regionals.”
That 2010 team dropped a 2-1 contest in the state opener to eventual champion Bay Port, in what even Bay Port fans termed the game of the tournament.
Artac went to mention numerous other great squads under his tutelage.
“I sure had some great teams,” he concluded.
Artac made his announcement at Sunday’s baseball awards banquet, where his 2015 team gave him a very appropriate ‘Art of Hitting’ piece of framed art.
“That should say the ‘Artac of Hitting,’ ” he joked.