America's Newspapers
Paper: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Title: DUES FAMILIAR WITH STATE TOURNEY - Vandalia Butler coach was there as a player
Date: June 1, 2000

VANDALIA - Trent Dues first distinguished himself in baseball in 1987, helping Coldwater High School to the state title.

He combined with his brothers for a rare triple play. That is, all three played on state championship teams their senior year. Todd played on the school's championship team in 1983 and Tony in 1990.

Dues, 31, has found success as a baseball coach at Vandalia Butler. He hopes to be a part of state baseball history this weekend by guiding the Aviators to a state crown. Butler (28-2) will play Akron Tallmadge (23-3) at 3 p.m. Friday in the Division II state semifinals at Cooper Stadium in Columbus.

"I'm sure being there before as a player has helped me in preparation this week," Dues said. "I hope the poise factor will make a difference for our kids. We'll go into Columbus with a great attitude. The kids think they can do it and will leave it all on the field.

"We're not going to change anything," he continued. "I've told the players not to get caught up in the hoopla. It's just another game, just on a bigger stage."

If there is such a thing as a rising star in baseball coaching circles, Dues fits it. In six seasons he has guided the Aviators to an impressive 137-35 record for an 80 percent winning percentage, five consecutive Greater Miami Valley Conference titles and three district titles. Butler is firmly entrenched as one of the best programs in this part of the state.

His current edition ranks No. 3 in the state coaches poll with a school-record 28 wins. The players are schooled to make all the right moves. A source of pride for Dues is the fact that his teams have a reputation for not beating themselves. They hit the cutoff man. His outfielders back up one another.

His players are a reflection of their coach. Dues is a go-getter who was groomed by several men.

"When Trent played here he was a gamer, the dirtier his uniform, the better," said Bowling Green State University coach Danny Schmitz. "He was our leader, a coach on the field and when there was something that needed to be said, he said it."

Dues set a Bowling Green record for doubles in a season (16) and spent a year as a volunteer assistant for the Falcons.

Dues played for the legendary Lou Brunswick at Coldwater and coached under Bob Costello at Butler. All three coaches made an imprint on Dues' coaching style.

"Trent and his brothers were energetic and played with a lot of fire," Brunswick said. "That came from their father, Melvin, who was a fine fast-pitch softball player. They were never satisfied with losing."

Dues followed his late father on the base paths. He still plays in the Roy Hobbs Over-30 League.

"I love playing the game and I love coaching it," he said. "I don't know which one I enjoy the most. Coaching the kids here at Butler has spoiled me. They see me working hard and they don't want to let me down. They are easy to motivate. I let them have their own personalites and own music in practice. That is something I got from Lou, who was like Sparky Anderson."

The workman-like practices are played to a driving MTV-style rock-'n' roll beat. "Coach Dues makes you want to be as good as you can be," said first baseman Josh Betts. "He makes us confident."

* Contact Ron Jackson at (513) 743-5308 or e-mail him at ron_jackson@coxohio.com

Copyright, 2000, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.

Author: Ron Jackson Dayton Daily News
Section: SPORTS
Page: 3D
Copyright, 2000, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.