Jeff Cheadle’s formula for building winning softball teams is heavily focused on the basics.
That approach worked in making Everett a premier program and its done the same at Laingsburg the past decade.
And it’s also a big reason why Cheadle recently reached a major milestone by earning his 700th coaching victory,
Laingsburg’s doubleheader sweep of Portland St. Patrick on Thursday gave Cheadle wins No. 700 and 701 of a coaching career that began in 1987 at Everett.
“It was nice to get it with the group of girls I’ve got this year,” said Cheadle, who has guided Laingsburg to a 24-4 mark this spring and has it in the driver’s seat to win a CMAC title.
“It was kind of fun.”
Cheadle became the third area softball coach to reach 700 wins, joining Portland’s Jack Anderson and former DeWitt coach Larry Baird. He is the 20th coach in the state to reach the milestone according the MHSAA’s online records.
Cheadle was caught by surprise after the clinching win as signs with the number 700 were held after his team beat St. Patrick.
But even reaching that milestone was something Cheadle wasn’t sure was possible when he returned to coaching in 2006 after taking a year off. Cheadle, who won 481 games during an 18-year stint at Everett, faced a rebuilding project when he took over at Laingsburg.
“We basically started from nothing out there,” Cheadle said. “They were probably the doormat of the league out there for quite a while.”
Cheadle remembers wondering what he was getting into when the Wolfpack suffered a pair of mercy-rule losses to start 2006. That was part of 11 straight losses to start his debut season guiding Laingsburg. Cheadle rebounded from that slow start to have a winning season and has kept building since.
Laingsburg won a district title last season and is in position for its second conference title under his leadership.
And that makes the latest accomplishment all the more special for Cheadle, who expects to continue coaching for at least a few more years.
“I just love doing it,” Cheadle said. “Working with the kids, it keeps you young. I don’t feel like I should be retiring and that I’m old enough to do that. They keep you young and energetic, and I like the spring sports because you’re outside. It just makes it fun and it makes the school day go a lot quicker.”