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He's one of the good guys

By Joe Centers • May 8, 2018 at 12:00 PM

I have a lot of memories of the Stoll boys.

The twins, Mark and Matt, started coaching about the time I came to Norwalk in 1979. 

More than coaching, I remember them when I was an umpire in the Men’s City Softball League and all of the Stoll boys played for the Bud Light team. They would come rolling town with a cast of characters on that team that was one to remember. They played hard, partied harder and made everybody on Plank Road proud.

More than once they had an issue or two with me. 

There are five boys — Mike, Matt, Kurt, Greg and Nick.

One of my favorite umpiring stories involved the Bud Light team. Ed “Bud” Stoll, the boys’ dad, was the coach.

Before the game the coaches would come out for a coin flip to decide the home team. Before I flipped the coin I heard Bud call heads, then maybe it was tails (That’s what he said).

The coin came up tails. Of course, we had a big argument before the game even started.

It was quite a debate and we really went at it. But like all of the disputes we had, they quickly were forgotten and we always were friends off the field.

I followed Mike as a coach from Edison to Firelands to Western Reserve.

Mike may not have been the most successful coach in terms of wins and losses, but he was one of my favorite coaches to cover.

Mike Stoll, who just announced his retirement, appreciated any coverage his players received and he never had a bad word for anybody. To me, that equals success.

He taught life lessons first and foremost and that is something his former players will remember the most.

Stoll and his wife, Kelly, raised four successful boys — Brent, Tate, Kevin and A.J. (see their letter to the editor below). All four are just like their father. Whenever I talked to them they were polite and well-manared — just like their dad.

I would take any one of them as a son-in-law in a heartbeat.

Mike is one of the good guys in this business who will be missed. Now he can go off in the woods and hunt mushrooms with his twin brother, who retired a few years back from teaching and coaching at Wellington High School.

Enjoy your retirement, Mike; you deserve it.

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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