With a 7-2 victory last Wednesday at home over Mississippi Valley Conference foe Civic Memorial, longtime Waterloo head baseball coach Mark Vogel moved into select company by securing his 500th career win.
Vogel has served as head coach of the Bulldogs since 1992, with his teams winning seven conference titles and three regional titles along the way.
His 2011 team went 33-4 and placed third in the Class 3A state tournament.
A 1986 graduate of Waterloo High School, Vogel played under legendary baseball coach Lon Fulte before starring on the diamond for Kaskaskia College and then Northern Iowa.
Vogel was a key member of Fulte’s 1984 Bulldogs squad that advanced to the Class A state tournament.
Fulte, who has 578 career wins according to the IHSA, was on hand for Vogel’s milestone victory. Many of Vogel’s family members and close friends were also present.
“It felt good to have all those who have done so much for me be there,” Vogel told the Republic-Times.
In addition to Fulte, other coaches Vogel credited as having a positive influence on his coaching career include Rich Marquis, Norm Toenjes, Larry Henson, Bill Theobald, Rick Keefe and Tom Vogt.
Vogel said longtime assistant coach Dave Hopper was a huge asset.
“He really helped a young coach out,” Vogel said.
Now at 503 wins following more victories since last Wednesday, Vogel said it’s hard to believe he’s been coaching for so long.
“Time flies,” he said. “It just doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago and I was coaching my first game.”
When the final out was made for No. 500, Vogel said a myriad of thoughts crossed his mind.
“You start thinking about all of the great kids you’ve had along the way,” Vogel said. “I thought about my dad (Fritz Vogel), who passed away 11 years ago.”
Vogel said he still enjoys the competition that coaching high school baseball provides.
“The game of baseball has been very good to me,” he said. “It helped me get a good education, and I still get to be a part of the game after all these years. Being around the kids helps keep you young. It’s been a great ride.”