Mike Barhorst couldn’t step down as Chaminade Julienne baseball coach after the 2017 season — not when he had such a strong team returning. He couldn’t do it after the 2018 season — not when he had a state championship to defend. He will retire after this season, however, and he hopes that season continues into June.
Chaminade Julienne announced Barhorst’s decision Tuesday. His team entered the Division II tournament this week as the top-ranked team in the state.
“It’s something that’s been on my mind since I started,” Barhorst said. “This is my 20th year. I got started and did it for several years, and as my boys got older, my plan was to stick around and get through my older boys (Todd and Daniel). After those two graduated, I had a younger one (Mark0 who was coming to CJ a year later, so I thought I’m going to stick it out for at least four more years. He ended up graduating in ‘17 when we went to state and lost that final. After that, I had a lot of parents and players who were asking me to come back. I knew we had a really good team coming back, so I thought I’ll stick it out another year and see how things go. After we won (state), I still had the same kind of thing with parents. ‘You’ve got to go for an even 20,’ they kept telling me. I had another group of seniors coming back again, so I thought I’m going to do one more.”
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Barhorst, 51, has groomed his son Todd, a 2010 graduate who has coached with him since 2012, to take his place, and Todd plans to apply the job, though the next coach has not been named.
“He’s to the point where he could be running his own team,” Barhorst said. “We’ve got a really good team again, obviously. Hopefully, we can go really far, and I know we’re going to have a pretty strong team coming back next year.”
Barhorst, a 1985 CJ graduate, has a career record of 144-113. The Eagles finished 24-5 last season and beat Wapakoneta 3-1 in the state final to win the program’s first championship since 1970. The victory came a year after a 4-0 loss to Tallmadge in the championship game.
This year, the Eagles are 20-2 and took a 16-game winning streak into a sectional tournament game Thursday against Trotwood-Madison. Barhorst told his players about his decision a week ago.
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“I wanted them to have time to think about it and be able to absorb it a little bit,” he said, “and forget about it and move back into tournament mode.”
Barhorst has a full-time job with Gary Bryant Construction, so it’s never been easy devoting so many hours to baseball.
“It’s a very time-consuming process,” he said. “You’re spending at least six months of the year doing baseball: three to five or six days a week. I was just getting to the point at 20 years, I’m thinking I’d like to relax a little bit and not get home at 8 or 9 at night after working all day. I just thought this was time. I think the team’s going to be in good hands. I think it’s still going in the right direction.”