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Brumfield set to enter hall of fame

Jan. 04, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

WAYNE -- The plaque will bear George Brumfield's name and likeness, but the former Wayne High School baseball coach said he is just one of many from the Pioneers program deserving of recognition by the National High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Brumfield learned on Jan. 1, his birthday, he will be inducted on Dec. 5 at the NHSBCA Convention at the Radisson Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. One of just 35 members of the NHSBCA Hall, Brumfield will be inducted with Mike Gardner, coach at William Penn High School in New Castle, Del., and Steve Mandl, coach at George Washington High School in the Bronx, N.Y.

"It's very gratifying," Brumfield said. "I didn't win an award. We won an award. This wouldn't have happened without our players, coaches, my wife and family and all the people in our program."

Brumfield said he was sitting in the Drivers Education car in the Wayne High School parking lot Dec. 9 when he received a phone call informing him of his induction. The caller told him the announcement wouldn't be made at least until Jan. 1.

"That's quite the birthday present," he said.

In 27 seasons at Wayne, Brumfield's record was 516-304-5. His teams reached the state finals eight times, winning Class AA titles in 1984, 1992, 1994 and 1995 .Wayne's 1994 team went 32-3 and was ranked 25th nationally. Wayne was Class AA runner-up in 1986, 1988 and 2002 and Class AAA runner-up in 1979. The Pioneers also made the Class AA semifinals in 1989.

Brumfield was also an assistant coach for four seasons at Marshall University and is in his second season as an assistant at Cabell Midland High School, where his son Tracy is head coach. Brumfield helped the Knights reach the state championship game last season.

"He helped me and now I help him," Brumfield said of assisting his son.

Brumfield's former players gushed about him.

"Well deserving," said Tim Adkins, a 1992 Wayne graduate who pitched professionally and is a scout with the Chicago Cubs. "The biggest thing I remember is his sense of organization. We never had a stagnant practice or a practice without a goal."

Brumfield created plenty of off-field memories, as well, as Adkins recalled.

"He put his players ahead of the program," said Adkins, who coached with Brumfield at Marshall. "I remember he wouldn't bring me back to pitch on three days rest, even though we might have won another championship if he had. He was more concerned about my career and not hurting my arm."

Comments on Brumfield's Facebook page were overwhelming with praise from former players and non-players, alike.

"The greatest coach ever," wrote Kevin Smith, who played for Brumfield at Wayne. "With baseball, he is a genius. He made me the best that I could be. He deserves more than the hall of fame. A coach, a role model and a parent."

Brumfield coached 35 players who played college baseball and two who played professionally, including Adkins and his cousin, Jon Adkins, who reached the major leagues. Brumfield's teams produced 85 all-state players.

A former scout with the Chicago White Sox and manager of the independent West Virginia Coal Sox of the Frontier League, Brumfield worked as a coach for 10 years with Team One Showcase and coached in the first Cape Cod High School All-Star Game. Brumfield also served for 10 years on the Baseball America/NHSBCA Top 25 poll.

"I remember Steve Mandl's teams when I was a poll voter," Brumfield said. "He had some great teams there in New York. It's an honor to go in with him and all the other guys who are in the Hall of Fame."

In 2003, Brumfield was one of the inaugural inductees into the West Virginia High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He said all the accolades are appreciated, but personal awards take a back seat to team honors.

"I wouldn't take anything for our state championships," Brumfield said. "Team comes before individual."

Brumfield is just the second coach from West Virginia to enter the NHSBCA Hall of Fame. John Cowley, Jr., of Jefferson was voted in in 2009.