PHS skipper inducted into softball Hall of Fame
Parkland softball coach Barry Search was recently inducted into the Lehigh Valley Softball Hall of Fame during ceremonies at Patriots Park in Allentown. Search was inducted for his overall contribution to the sport as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
Search’s earliest memories of softball were of his dad playing in local leagues. At the age of 15, Search joined his dad in playing locally, which began a long love affair with the game.
When he enrolled in the Coast Guard after high school, the grass and dirt fields of home turned into metal aboard ship as he and his shipmates would play softball on the deck of the ship.
He credits those games with helping develop him as a pitcher because, as Search put it: “If you make a bad pitch, it doesn’t go to the backstop, it goes into the ocean. It’s not like you can run after it and get the ball. You also can’t just go to the store and get more balls whenever you need them.”
After his enlistment, Search played for a number of different local teams in amateur fast-pitch and church leagues.
Eventually, his playing days ended and he turned to coaching.
Initially, Search turned to coaching football at Parkland, which he has now done for 45 years. It was 30 years ago when he added softball to his coaching resume as an assistant under Glen Ray.
In 2009, the Parkland program was under Search’s watch for the first time and he has gone 207-40 with the program and perhaps not coincidentally, has been instrumental in developing young pitchers. Four of his previous pitchers – Kelly Gallagher, Krysta Pidstawski, Bari-Lynn Pflueger and Deanna Stinner – have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame and more will likely be there down the road.
In his induction speech, the first order of business was to thank Ruth, his wife of 50 years, for allowing him the opportunity to coach. He also thanked his children and grandchildren who were in attendance at the ceremony.
“I have to start by thanking her, which is something that I don’t do enough,” said Search “She has been absolutely a gem in putting up with everything that I do and has been so supportive.”
Search pointed out that his success with the Parkland program has its roots planted far in the past. The team hasn’t had a losing season since 1973 when it went 3-10. The team finished at 8-8 in 1986, but has been above the .500 mark every season since, including in all 10 of the seasons coached by Search.
“We didn’t reinvent the wheel here,” Search said. “We didn’t do anything different. We just carried on what Glen started and it’s worked very well for us. The whole thing about softball is that it’s all about the kids. That’s what we’re here for, to support them and I have been very fortunate to have some really wonderful players. They have worked tirelessly.”
Search also thanked his current and past coaching staffs. He noted that Barry Williams was the only holdover from Ray’s coaching staff and is still on Search’s coaching staff.
He noted that while there have been changes to the staff, he has been able to find the right people to fill the spots. He noted that at one point – with the exception of Williams - he had to find a new coaching staff because all of his assistants were hired elsewhere as head coaches.
“You don’t do a lot alone,” stressed Search. “It’s your staff. It’s your coaches. They’re the ones and I thank them for everything that they have done. Without them, believe me, there is nothing that one individual could do.
“I thank them because me being up here is just because of those guys and what they have done for the program at Parkland.”
In addition to serving in the Coast Guard, Search is currently the Assistant Chief of the Woodlawn Fire Company. He summed up being a Hall of Famer, very succinctly.
“It’s just an honor,” stressed Search. “It’s a great group of people and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Along with Search, four other inductees – Harvey Gordon (former umpire), Paul Heffner (player/coach), Frank Nace (player/umpire) and Bill Schankel (coach) – were inducted, bringing the number of members in the Lehigh Valley Softball Hall of Fame to 100.