Scott Bishop, a 1967 Garrett High School alumnus, recently resigned as coach of the Lady Railroader softball program. Bishop, leaves GHS as the leader in the coaching hierarchy, having coached longer than any other Railroader coach and also compiled more victories than any other coach in the history of Garrett High School. For 21 years, Bishop has guided the Lady Railroaders to 354-wins. No other has coached for two decades at Garrett and no other coach has accumulated more than 300 victories.
By comparison, the second-longest coaching career at GHS was 18-years. Cleo Miller led the Garrett golf program from 1975 thru 1992. The second-most win’s by a GHS coach is Dan Feagler, who guided the Lady Railroader basketball team’s for 16-season’s and won, 281-games.
Bishop began his coaching career in 1997 with his first team finishing with a 500 season, going 13-13. Ironically that is the only season his teams will finish 500.
The following season was Bishop’s first of six, 20-win seasons when his 1998 squad completed a 21-11 mark.
Bishop’s third year was a watermark-season. The 1999 team won their first 19-games, setting a new Lady Railroader record. On May 4, the Lady Railroaders were ranked third in the state by the AP poll. The USA Today publication ranked the Garrett girls the 52nd best team in America on May 13, 1999. Perhaps the greatest GHS softball team went onto establish a school record, 28 wins against only three losses. The Garrett girls dream season ended when they lost in the championship game of the regional tournament held at Garrett, falling to Morgan Township, 1-0.
The new century began well for Bishop’s girls, as they nearly matched the previous year’s win total defeating 27 opponents and losing just six times.
The 1999 and 2000 teams were also undefeated in NECC action, going 10-0 in 1999 and 11-0 in 2000, for back-to-back crowns.
Following a 15-10 season in 2001, the 2002 team gave Bishop his second Sectional title, despite going just 16-13. The Lady Railroaders were playing their best softball at sectional time and won the IHSAA crown. The next three seasons were rebuilding years. The 2003 team finished 14-13, and the 2004 squad was Bishop’s only team not to reach at least 10-wins, finishing with a 8-19 slate. The 2005 team improved by five wins but still finished 13-14.
But the 2006 squad garnered Bishop another conference crown — but this time the championship came in the ACAC. The conference crown turned out to be the first of five.
Not only did the next four team s win conference crowns, but they also captured IHSAA Sectional titles. Their records were 21-9 in 2007, 19-9 in 2008, 21-6 in 2009, and the 2010 team took it a step further. This special group gave Bishop his only Regional championship and despite a disappointing loss in the semi-state, the Lady Railroaders finished a tremendous 24-5 season.
The new-decade has seen the Garrett girls struggle. Despite a three-year winning streak between 2013 and 2015, there have been four losing seasons.
14 winning seasons
During Bishop’s 21-year reign, 14 of his campaigns were winning seasons. His teams won one regional crown, six-sectional titles, and seven conference championships. His teams won more than 20-games six-times and his career record is a tremendous 354-230 for a winning percentage of 60.6 percent. His teams won on average 16.875 games per-season.
Third softball coach
Bishop was just the third Garrett High School Lady Railroader softball coach. Dennis Feagler, Bishop’s 1967 classmate, began the program in 1987 and coached six seasons through the 1992 season. Feagler’s teams won 111 games and lost just 23-times. Alan Hunter, Feagler’s assistant coach, took over the program in 1993 and coached four-seasons, achieving a 79-26 record. Hunter’s average wins-per-season is a Garrett High School record at 19.75.
GHS Coaching Longevity [10-year minimum]
1. Scott Bishop, Softball — 21
2. Cleo Miller, Golf — 18
3. Paul Bateman, Golf — 17
4. Doug Klopfenstein, Boys Soccer —16
4. Dan Feagler, Girls Basketball — 16
6. Rocky Pressler, Girls Basketball — 15
7. Cheryl Peters, Girls Track — 14
8. Richard Capin, Football and Boys Track — 13
8. Ward Smith, Boys Basketball — 13
10. Joe Mahnesmith, Boys Track — 12
11. Cameron Parks, Football, Basketball and Track —11
12. Jim Slain Golf —10
Klopfenstein is the only active coach, still guiding the boy’s soccer program.
GHS Winningest Coaches (200-minimum)
1. Scott Bishop, 354
2. Dan Feagler, 281
3. Cameron Parks, 278
4. Dennis Feagler, 242
5. Ward Smith, 219
Bishop and Dan Feagler gained all their victories in just one sports while Parks and Dennis Feagler both coached three sports. Smith won 215 games as the boy’s basketball coach, but was also the Garrett High School baseball coach for two seasons and won four games for his 219-wins.
Thanks for all the great memories — Scott enjoy your retirement. Bishop and his classmate’s will be celebrating their 50th Garrett High School reunion in July, and I’m sure his classmates will be remembering the 1967 baseball sectional championship they won, in which, perhaps, Bishop was the MVP of the team!