The summer has been a little more relaxing for Brian Middleton.
The longtime softball coach still loves softball, and will still stay active in some sense — whether with the Monticello Eclipse, or perhaps watching the county’s four programs. But for now, his decision to resign as Twin Lakes softball coach soon after the season ended is one he’s still OK with. There are grandkids to play with and watch grow up.
“Honestly, it went quick,” he said of his eight-year tenure. “They were good; I enjoy coaching and softball. I enjoy the sport.”
Middleton shepherded the Indians to a record of 128-89, with three sectional championships (2012-2013, 2018) and two Hoosier Conference titles (2012, 2016) as an add-on. Two of those sectional championships came in his first two years after taking over for Desiree Swaim.
“Dez (Desiree Swaim) turned a team over to me that had quite a bit of talent,” Middleton said, “and Twin Lakes has always had a good program, which I hopefully continued. I knew the possibilities there with that program — just couldn’t get past South Bend St. Joe’s in the regional. All three times, and beat by one run.”
He and North White coach Eddy Bragg helped create the Eclipse several years ago, and Middleton said he’d love to be able to sit in the stands and watch a Frontier game, or North White or Tri-County.
There is also a plan should one of his longtime assistants become the new coach. The Twin Lakes school board approved a new softball coach during its meeting Tuesday night; whom it selected was not available as of press time Tuesday afternoon.
“He has taught me a lot about the little in-game parts of softball that maybe I’d overlooked or were different from the level I was coaching at,” assistant David McFadden said. “He’s expanded my game and he’s grown my game tremendously as a coach. He can dissect the game as it’s going on — one of the best in-game coaches I’ve been around.”
McFadden joined Middleton’s staff three years into the latter’s tenure.
“I went into an open gym, introduced myself, said ‘This is who I am, this is what I want to do,’ and he said, ‘Be glad to have your help,’” McFadden said. “And we’ve become really good friends.
“You won’t find many people who can say something bad about Brian Middleton. He’s just been a stand-up guy. He really has a lot of care for the girls and love for the game of softball.”
Twin Lakes Athletic Director Kent Adams agreed.
“Coach Middleton did a very good job of continuing the strong softball tradition at Twin Lakes,” Adams said. “He worked hard year round to give the players opportunities to be successful. With his vast experience in softball he knew where to go and how to get the best for our players and program. While he may have retired as the head coach, he will still be around the program and willing to help continue the Lady Indians strong tradition and success.”