The only four coaches the Glendale High School baseball team has ever had sat in front of one of the school’s trophy cases and traded stories.
“You better just go up and say ‘hi,’ ” one bystander said to another who was waiting for the conversation to end, “or you’ll be here all night.”
The four men — Don Provance, Mark Stratton, Howard Bell and Mike Snodgrass — were together for a photo as part of Glendale’s year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary.
“This is really great,” said Provance, the school’s first coach and a member of the Missouri Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. “It brings back a lot of good memories. We had a lot of good years and a lot of good people.”
Provance started at Glendale when it opened in 1963 and coached through the 1992-93 school year. After that, Stratton coached the Falcons from 1993-2005. It was Bell who headed the program from 2005 through last season, when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Snodgrass begins his first year as head coach this season.
“It’s special because the opportunities for something like that are rare to begin with,” Snodgrass said. “They (his three predecessors) all care so much about the program. And it’s special for me because I worked with all of them.”
The photo will eventually appear in the Glendale High School yearbook and on the school’s baseball website.
And it will serve as a reminder of the program’s strong tradition.
The Falcons won Class AA state championships in 1976 and 1978 and an American Legion state title in 1997. The program has won 12 Ozark Conference titles, including eight in a 15-year stretch from 1975-1990, and its 16 appearances in the state tournament rank 12th all-time in Missouri. Seven Glendale players have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
“The Glendale community has been super supportive, and that’s big part of our success,” said Stratton, who coached the 1997 Legion champions before eventually taking over the program at Drury University. “You look over 50 years, and that support has been pretty consistent. That’s what makes it special.”
Glendale opens its season March 17 at Jefferson City.