Newland “500”

From the Sidelines

The number 500 has a very significant meaning in the world of sports.  Reaching 500 goals, baskets, wins, home runs, or anything in sports is a noble undertaking.

Babe Ruth was the first American league player to reach 500 home runs, in 1945. Mel Ott was the first in the National league.  Both hall of Famers.  The Indianapolis 500 is the crown jewel of open wheel racing.  The Daytona 500 is the pinnacle of Stock car racing.

Maurice Ricard in the 1957-58 season was the first to 500 goals in hockey.  All of these are bell-weather events in their respective sports.  We can now add to this list right here in Greenville, another “500” that may never be matched.

The Lady Wave softball team is known throughout the State as being one of the elite programs because of their record, and because of their consistency of achievement.  Any Coach would love to have the recognition that the Wave have had for their team.

Five hundred wins by a coach is something, to do it in less than 20 years is unbelievable!  The Lady Wave, led by head coach Jerrod Newland, have achieved this.  Think about that!?  That equals more than 25 wins a year for less than 20 years!  What makes this more incredible is they can only play 27 regular season games a year!  Add on the Playoff games they play every year, and it is an incredible winning percentage.

With the Waves 500th win, Coach Newland has a record of 500 wins, and only 95 losses, a winning percentage of 84%!  Coach Newland was inducted into the Ohio High School Fast Pitch Softball Coaches Association (OHSFPSCA) in 2018.  Greg, Jerrod’s dad, is in the Springfield South Hall of Fame and the OHSFPSCA, inducted there in 2008.   Sarah, Jerrod’s sister is also in the Springfield South Hall of fame for Softball and Volleyball.  Sports, especially Softball is in the family’s blood!

I have talked to Jerrod and Greg enough to know what they will say. It will be about the kids, the parents, and the hard work his players put in.  He will talk about his coaches, and how they run the program.

With Jerrod, it is mostly about the kids.  He loves each of them, and you can tell the feeling is mutual.   I have never heard him or his dad talk up what they have done; Jerrod has accomplished much because of his players...that is his underlying theme when you talk to him. 

However, if you have a team that wins 25 games a year for a little less than 20 years, you have to be doing something right other than putting 9 players out there and hoping for a win! You have to have instilled discipline, fundamentals, buy in from everyone, including the school administration, and exude the time and energy it takes to win consistently.

Jerrod has energy.  He has created a system here in Greenville that produces, and expects to produce, positive results that not only lead to wins on the field, but lead to success in life too.

Ask him how many of his girls go to college on scholarships, a real point of pride with him.  Every year, kids leave Greenville Softball on Scholarships, graduate, and become very productive citizens.   Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots stated, “Talent sets the floor, Character sets the ceiling”. That pretty well sums up Greenville Softball: Talent that has been nurtured worked on and improved, and upstanding character from the girls and coaches.

We are lucky here in our little corner of the world to have in Darke County a bunch of good kids, good parents, and good schools. We are also very lucky in our schools to have people like Jerrod Newland and his staff set a standard, never lower it, and foster excellence in the minds of our young athletes. By doing that, he is turning out future leaders and parents who can pass on that drive to succeed to the next generation.   That is rare nowadays. 

Congratulations, Jerrod, you are the definition of a great leader………and that’s special!  That’s the way I see it from the sidelines.

Mike Stegall / Correspondent

Mike Stegall is a GHS alum and played on the Green Wave's only undefeated football team. Served 27 years as an OHSAA football official and currently serves as a Darke County Commissioner

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