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Meunier resigns as Crater coach

It was a matter of just a couple of sentences.

But Mike Meunier says he struggled mightily as he punched out a resignation note ending an eight-year stint as the softball coach at Crater High.

It took about two days to actually get it done, says Meunier, who tendered his resignation Friday. It doesn't seem like it would be that tough. But it's easier to talk about than do.

The 33-year-old Meunier has been working toward his administrative credential at Southern Oregon University as well as teaching at Scenic Middle School.

All the while, he coached softball.

It's something that's become part of my life and part of my family's life,?? he says. It's tough to eliminate it from the picture when it's been such a dominating thing so long.

Meunier contemplated the move for some time, deciding now was as good as any to spend more time at home with his wife and children — ages 12, 5 and 3.

He is the third Southern Oregon Conference coach to resign this spring, joining North Medford's Larry Binney and Ashland's Kristine Weiss.

But leaving coaching behind won't be easy.

I don't think you can get it out of your blood that quick,?? Meunier says. It's like what Greg Haga said about being a wrestling coach. ?It isn't what we do, it's what we are.? There is a lot of truth to that. It's not like you can be involved in the program and maintaining the fields and then just turn it off.

Meunier has been involved in fastpitch softball a lot longer than his stint as the Comets? coach. For two years before, that he ran Eagle Point's program, and during his final two years of college, Meunier assisted his Crater predecessor, Mike Johnson.

Before that, Meunier hung around Fagone Field watching his dad, Laval, play for Mallot's Mudhens in the old Jackson County Fastpitch Softball Association. Among Laval Meunier's teammates were Southern Oregon Conference coaches Harley Dickerson of Eagle Point and Darryl Summerfield, Crater's first coach.

After Meunier graduated from Crater in 1984, he started playing fastpitch. One of his teammates was Bruce Fauble, who was an assistant to Johnson. Fauble talked Meunier into helping out with the Crater program and then when Fauble quit, Meunier assisted for the next two years — his sister Susie's junior and senior seasons.

Eagle Point, inspired by Dickerson, moved quickly to hire Meunier after his graduation from Southern Oregon.

I applied for a teaching job out there, and within a week and a half, I went from having no job prospects to having a teaching job and being varsity softball coach, Meunier says.

Eagle Point had never made it to the state playoffs but did so in 1990 and again in 1991. It tied North Medford for the ?91 SOC title.

The next year, Meunier was offered a job at Scenic and then took over the Comet team the following season.

Crater athletic director Dan Speasl says he?ll miss Meunier's supportive style.

Mike's a great guy to have on staff. He works with the whole program and encourages his kids to play other sports, Speasl says.

He does so many things so an athletic director doesn't have to worry about them. He was excited when we won a state baseball championship. Sometimes you get competition between sports, but he was excited for Crater High School.

Meunier says few parts of the educational experience match the highs and lows coaches go through.

The thrills are way up there and they are good,?? he says. The lows are bummers, real bad. That's what kind of make's this worth doing.

RADIO WAVES -When KMED (1440-AM) carried the Class 4A state baseball final Saturday evening, it marked the first time in at least 20 years that local high school baseball had been aired.

KYJC carried some Medford Mustangs American Legion baseball games in the early 1980s. But until two Jackson County teams met for the title four hours away, there wasn't much interest from local stations.

It was a special situation, says Brian Bishop, KMED's programming director. When you have two local teams 220 miles away, it's hard for people to get there. It was a game of big import, and we were able to get a sponsor rather quickly.

Klamath Falls sportscaster Randy Adams, who handled the play-by-play, was already going to Keizer to broadcast the 3A final involving Mazama.

He asked us if we were interested, Bishop says. We were, and we've had all kinds of really good feedback.

COLLEGE SIGNING -Charlie Jensen, North Medford's left fielder, has signed a letter of intent to play baseball for NCAA Division III Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Jensen hit . 340 with four home runs in 30 games for the Class 4A runner-up Black Tornado.

The Trinity Tigers were 35-11 this spring, finishing second in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.

Jensen was an honorable mention Southern Oregon Conference all-star.

ACADEMIC HONORS ?

Prospect High School topped Class 1A schools for the highest percentage of graduating seniors involved in activities to have cumulative GPAs of 3.50 or better. Gladstone (4A), Marist (3A) and Santiam Christian (2A) were the other leaders.

Scholar athlete awards, based on similar criteria, went to Newberg (4A), Marist (3A), Union (2A) and Sunriver Prep (1A).