When asked a few years ago if he were done coaching because his son had graduated, longtime Canisius High School baseball coach Bryan Tenney shot that idea down quicker than a catcher nailing a would-be base stealer at second.
Tenney still loved the game and had a passion for coaching. He said then if he ever woke up feeling any differently, he'd know it was time to walk away.
That day happened a couple of weeks ago, and now one of Western New York's signature baseball programs finds itself in need of a coach.
Tenney has decided to retire after three decades with the program, including 26 seasons as varsity coach.
Tenney, just the third coach in the history of the program, succeeded Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame member Connie McGillicuddy as varsity skipper. Under Tenney, the Crusaders won 12 Georgetown Cup championships. The team won a 13th Cup under assistant Paul Smaldone when Tenney took a year off.
Canisius last won the Georgetown Cup in 2016 behind the pitching and hitting of Dan Dallas, who was drafted by the San Diego Padres after that season.
Tenney took most of last year off for family reasons. He planned to return but ...
"If I can't do things at 110 percent, I don't want to do it," Tenney said. "I knew the sooner I did it, the better it'd be for the school and the kids."
A 1976 Canisius graduate, Tenney played college baseball at Duke. A financial adviser, he returned to his alma mater in 1989 to coach the freshman team. Two years later, he succeeded a legend.
“Bryan Tenney has been such a huge part of Canisius High School as a student, parent and coach,” said Jim Mauro, Canisius director of athletics. “His impact on our student-athletes reaches far, far beyond what they learned on a baseball field. Bryan is a person of the highest qualities; impeccable character, integrity and a genuine care for our students. He has taught so many of our students on the field, and off.
"Bryan’s legacy at the school will not only be defined by his win-loss record, but the amount of young men who’ve moved on to become better people for the time they spent with him.”
Mauro said a search for Tenney’s replacement has begun.
During Tenney's tenure, several Crusaders earned opportunities to play at Division I or II schools. The only player drafted out of high school under his watch was Dallas. The left-hander who was recently promoted to Double-A, recently pitched in the short-season Single-A Midwest-Pioneer League All-Star Game.
Dallas told The News via Twitter direct message that he's happy for Tenney but also sad to see such a great teacher leave the Crusaders.
"Coach Tenney was a man every baseball program dreamed of having as he adhered to the teaching of fundamentals of the game and playing hard while always having respect for the game and others around it," Dallas wrote. "He was like a father figure to the players in the program. His commitment to the game and the Western New York baseball community was above and beyond. This is an exciting time for him and his family as they have so much to be proud of. He will truly be missed as a coach, but even more so as a wonderful man around the baseball community.
"I was lucky enough to play for him and will always be thankful to have him be such a role model in my life. Wishing him and his family nothing but the best and an awesome retirement from CHS baseball. It will be exciting to watch his journey into the WNY Hall of Fame."