When Ty Calloway coached his final game for Western last weekend in the Class 3A semistate game at CFD Investments Stadium in Kokomo’s Highland Park, it finished a four-decade run in which he started as an assistant, then spent 36 seasons as the Panther skipper.
That closed the book on his time in the No. 18 jersey, which he wore as coach in memorable games, against friends and rivals, and against a host of great players.
Talking to the Tribune last week, Calloway looked back at some of his impressions of the last four decades at Western. He enjoyed taking his squad to play against a host of managers that were fun to play against, like long-time friend George Phares of Taylor, Greg Marschand and Jack Ayers of Cass, Kenny Seitz at Hamilton Southeastern, Gary DeHaven at Benton Central, Ken Kaufman, Dan Armstrong and Ryan Berryman at Northwestern, Dave Spargo at Eastern, Mark Massariu at Haworth, Mike Smith and Steve Edwards at Kokomo, Dennis Kas at Clinton Prairie, Chuck Brimbury at Peru, Don Sherman at Huntington North and Dustin Hays at Maconaquah.
He also got to coach the Panthers, who he played for in his own high school days, against a host of great players. Jasper’s Scott Rolen, Tom Underwood and Pat Underwood of Kokomo, and Logansport’s Aaron Heilman stood out to him. All four became major leaguers. Other memorable rivals were Taylor’s Joe Beason and Cass’ Ted Kitchel.
The following is a question and answer with the outgoing Western coach, who led Western to the Class 3A state title in 2012 and took the team to the semistate this season.
Q: What was the highest high you’ve had from coaching, the best thing?
A: “When I first started coaching at the high school, and particularly when I was [a player] in school ... I don’t think the mental attitude was there that they could beat the biggest schools. That was the first thing that I thought we had to get over at Western, we can compete with, we can beat the big schools. Once you get to that point that you can do that — and I think you saw, it happened in baseball and eventually in basketball — I think the stigma is [ended].”