WBCK’s Coaches Corner Starts Its 59th Year on Battle Creek Radio
In August 1959, Jack Pearl’s Sport Center opened at 104 Calhoun Street in Battle Creek. The new business sold sports equipment to high schools and colleges, and was a mecca for area coaches and athletic directors, as well as athletes. About three years later in 1962, Jack Pearl’s became the place for the city’s high school coaches to gather on Saturday morning and talk on the radio about Friday night’s games. They’ve been doing it around 9 am Saturdays ever since.
First, "The Coaches Corner" was on 1400AM, WELL with Sports Director Dan Creighten, later Bob Doner. Former Battle Creek Central government teacher and mayor Harry Wilklow also hosted the show on WELL.
But in 1966, the show shifted to WBCK, where it’s been ever since. Sports Director Chuck Wiseman hosted it, sponsored by Jack Pearl’s Sport Center, Goddes Pastry Shoppes, and Kimball Ford. Mark Crawford hosted the show after Wiseman. In 1980, when Crawford left WBCK for TV 41, longtime Lakeview Athletic Director Gary Beard took over the show for the next decade or so.
Jack Pearl’s moved from Calhoun Street to Michigan Avenue in downtown Battle Creek in 1994 and Coaches Corner moved with them, putting a transmitter antenna on the roof of the building. Ken Ervin hosted the show, and then Terry Newton took over for the next 32 years, retiring in March of 2020. Nate Adams succeeded him last Fall but got a great opportunity to teach AV and Media at a West Michigan High School and left WBCK and the radio business in July.
Jack Pearl’s owner Keith Manning is putting the finishing touches on a remodel of the store at 26 West Michigan and is welcoming back the coaches and broadcasters for another season this Saturday, August 28th. And Terry Newton will be back behind the Coaches Corner mic on WBCK, but only long enough to show some new guys the ropes.
“We’re so proud to continue this great tradition on WBCK,” said Brand Manager Tim Collins. “Terry Newton wanted to help to preserve it, and we’re so grateful for him stepping up.”
The show will still feature a moderator talking to head coaches from Battle Creek Central, Lakeview, Harper Creek, Pennfield, and St. Philip high schools, right after the 9 O’clock news on Saturday morning on 95.3 WBCK and online through the station’s app.
“We’re going to have two guys, Jack McCulley and Mike Miller, rotate as hosts of Coaches Corner,” said Collins. “Both are very plugged in to the local sports scene and have been for a long time.”
McCully has worked as a high school game official for many years, and also taught and coached in the public schools. He’s also the manager of the Battle Creek Merchants city league team. Miller was an athlete at Olivet College, coached softball at KCC, and once worked at Jack Pearl’s where he used to see the Coaches Corner Show being broadcast on Saturday mornings. Both men have also worked as announcers at numerous sporting events.
In addition, Battle Creek Enquirer Sports Editor Bill Broderick will be on the show as he has been for the past several years. “Nobody knows the high school scene like Bill, and I always look forward to that final segment that he does each week,” said Collins. “I’m just thrilled to have people who truly know this community carrying on such a great tradition, and helping WBCK recognize the hard work of our student-athletes and their coaches.”
Collins says his only regret is that the station won’t be able to broadcast High School Football games this fall. “With the pandemic, economy, and Nate’s departure, our management team felt it would be best to put the games on hold for now.”
“We hope to bring this segment back next season and possibly even mid-season this year,” said Mary Fork, Townsquare Media Market President and CRO of Southwest Michigan. “Our director of our high school coverage retired and we are on the hunt for new talent. We will continue to showcase our community's athletes and their successes with our Coach's Corner program.”
There will be plenty to talk about on the radio this Saturday.
High School Football games get started this Thursday:
Thursday August 26th
- Battle Creek Central at Portage Northern.
- Lake Odessa Lakewood at Pennfield
Friday August 27th
- Lakeview at Harper Creek
- St. Philip at Portland St. Patrick
- Athens at Maple Valley
- Climax-Scotts at Concord
- Marshall at Gull Lake
- Union City at Constantine
- Tekonsha plays at Litchfield
Saturday August 28th
- Bellevue at Montabella.