by Bob San
SUN PRESS Newspapers
Darby Carlson took over the head baseball coaching job at Maple Grove when the school opened in 1996 and he has been the only coach the Crimson have known.
Recently, Carlson achieved an individual milestone when he recorded his 300th victory. Ironically, that win came against Osseo High, the school where Carlson served as an assistant coach for 12 years before taking over at Maple Grove.
“Reaching the milestone of 300 wins has been nice but experiencing the journey with quality people has been far greater,” Carlson said.
Carlson built the Maple Grove program into one of the most successful in the state. The Crimson won conference championships in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 and section championships in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2011.
Maple Grove played in state tournament in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2011. The Crimson took second place in 1999 and 2011, fourth in 2000 and sixth in 2001.
Carlson also coached the Maple Grove VFW team to the state championship in 2013.
Carlson said the No. 1 reason for the program’s success is the quality of players who have played under him.
“The success that we’ve experienced in the Crimson baseball program is the result of an association with many quality individuals too numerous to mention,” Carlson said. “We’ve had many top notch young men come through this program who worked and played hard to overcome the challenges and failures that the game of baseball presents. As a coach it has been fun teaching the game and watching players experience success. Hopefully the baseball experience has provided a number of life lessons that will be useful in the game of life.”
Carlson also credits his assistant coaches for their support in good times and bad.
“After tough losses and big wins it’s always more fun to share the experience with others,” Carlson said. “Current coaches Ken Thompson, Kurt Haring, Adam Spurrell and Michael Haus have been mainstays on our staff, which provides consistency. I am grateful for their contributions.”
Finally, Carlson thanks the Maple Grove community for being a proud supporter of Crimson baseball over the years.
“Our parents, school administration, teachers, custodial staff, business sponsors, and youth programs, just to name a few, have been instrumental in the development of our participants,” he said. “It takes a village to raise a class act baseball player.”
Carlson, whose record stands at 308-146 entering this week, hopes to guide the Crimson to another strong finish in 2014.
Contact Bob San at [email protected]