Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

FONT & AUDIO

MORE STORIES


North Marion baseball coach has achieved rare status, becoming one of only six coaches statewide to rack up 600 career wins

After carrying the moniker Mr. 500 for many years, North Marion head baseball coach Randy Brack has a new nickname: Mr. 600. He's claimed as many game wins in his three-decade career on the ballfield.

"I've been lucky here," Brack said. "We've had a lot of really good kids playing here."

True. However, raking in that many wins is beyond rare, clarified North Marion Athletic Director Mark Sundquist, after a conversation with Brack's assistant coaches (also his sons), who have been keeping track.

"Randy is one of only six coaches in the state to win 600 games," Sundquist said. "He is only one of two coaches to have 600 wins at the same school. He is the only coach in the state to win 600 games at the school he graduated from (Class of 1972)."COURTESY PHOTO: JO WHEAT - Randy Brack cheers on his players during the 2021-22 season.

What's even more amazing is that Brack would have reached this milestone sooner, but his 35 years at North Marion weren't all in a row. He didn't head to another school to coach, but stepped away twice for a couple years each time to support his father, a farmer who later owned local businesses, and later to work on his own business hosting baseball clinics.

Yet Brack can't help getting drawn back to his beloved alma mater, and to baseball.

His passion for the game dates back to a childhood of sleepy Saturdays watching America's pastime. Brack's father even mowed a portion of his field in rural Woodburn to let the young ballplayer practice, catching fly balls and making them crack up into the sky. Not hardly a field of dreams, Brack said, but it was surely a sacrifice of potato and corn crops to inspire a little joy.

The summer after eighth grade, Brack began playing for North Marion. That's when he met his mentor, coach Junior Sato, who was impressed with the young shortstop.

Brack has always been a strong player and a good person, noted Sato, who coached baseball for 31 years. Brack only made two mistakes, he said, and they're atom-sized ones. He once appeared at a big game in wrinkled warmups (back in an era with far more starch and ironing than nowadays) and another time starting to clear away the bats before a game had ended (unlucky).

But, mostly, Brack did the right thing as a player himself, keeping his composure after a loss, showing consideration for the opposing team, and taking pride in how he behaved and played, Sato explained. Sato said that, as a coach, he is proud of the world-class ballfield that Brack maintains, noting that college players used the field to practice during the pandemic and were impressed with the fresh mowing on the outfield and well-raked infield.

Sato has remained friends with Brack and the two still talk all the time about ballgames and family. For Brack, Sato's not only like a fellow player of the game, but a bit like a dad.

"What do I think of him?" Sato said. "My wife tells me, 'He's kind of like a son to you.'"

In addition to his sportsmanship, Sato and Brack both were a part of North Marion's championship game in the 1970s. After graduation, Brack still got attention for his talent. Sato said his college coach called Brack "super," although Sato said he had to persuade Brack to recognize his own gifts.

"He could throw hard, and he could pitch," Sato said. "He had a nicecurve ball. I had to talk my heart and brains out to convince him that he could pitch."

He didn't take to the pitcher's mound as much after high school. And, although a three-sport athlete in high school, Brack didn't carry on with football or basketball competitively after North Marion. However, he did take his shortstop skills all the way through college, graduating from Willamette University. After college, Brack wanted to coach and teach at local schools, and he got his wish. He briefly worked in Gaston before finding his way home to North Marion once again, but now as a coach and mentor to young players. He's achieved so much here with the Huskies.

"Honestly, he is successful because he strives for excellence and he expects the same from his student-athletes," Sundquist said. "He wants them to apply the same standards in the classroom as well and holds them accountable for both. I also believe that all of Randy's teams throughout the years are about 'selflessness, not selfishness.'"

Flash forward all these years later, and you can see Brack's team besting Corbett on May 3, walking away with his 600th win. But even though he has been inducted into the Oregon High School Coaches Hall of Fame and his team is currently 19-4 and the Tri-Valley League Champions, Brack doesn't consider any of these wins to be his own.

"I didn't catch a ball; I didn't hit a ball; I didn't do any of those wins," Brack said. "I was just here. I've been here to see the wins, but I didn't do anything to win those games. I think if you ask any coach he's going to tell you that."

The fact is, Mr. 600, we've never heard a single coach say that at all. Just you. But, however it happened, we are all so proud of you and of our team! Congratulations!

To share your North Marion story, contact Communications Specialist Jillian Daley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Go to top
JSN Time 2 is designed by JoomlaShine.com | powered by JSN Sun Framework