Head Bluejay baseball coach Mike Long coached his last game at Progressive Field on Wednesday, July 11.
Before the game began, Perry Superintendent Clark Wicks presented Coach Long with a commemorative jersey in honor of his impactful career.
Following his final win at the Perry baseball field Coach Long said it was tough to walk away.
“When you have done something for over 40 years it is difficult when you get to the end,” Coach Long said. “It’s time to let someone else do it.”
Coach Long has coached the Perry baseball team since the summer of 1978. During that time Coach Long coached the Bluejays to qualify for the Iowa High School Athletic Association State Baseball tournament six times, finishing second in the state of Iowa on three occasions.
The Bluejays baseball program have also won several conference titles in the Midwest Conference, the Little Hawkeye Conference, and the Racoon River Conference all under Coach Long’s leadership.
The first victory came on May, 25, 1978 against the Adel-Desoto Tigers 6-4. Coach Long’s 500th win came on May 27, 2005 with a 7-2 victory versus the Gilbert Tigers. Victory number 700 was achieved recently by Coach Long when the Perry Bluejays defeated the Carroll Tigers on Wednesday, June 22.
Coach Long’s teams have been characterized by players who hustle, play with great enthusiasm, and have a genuine love for the sport.
Coach Long has received several honors including being named as a member of the Iowa Girls Coaches Association Girls Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame as well as being named by his peers as a “coach of the year” selection.
Coach Long says he plans to continue coaching at a different level now that he is done with high school.
“I have a grandson who I think is going to be a good player so I’m going to coach him next year,” Coach Long said. “As long as I’m still coaching and teaching kids that’s all I care about.”