Hall of Fame Coldwater baseball coach Harlamert dies at 51

Longtime high school coach was the first scholarship baseball player in Dayton Flyers history

Brian Harlamert, the head baseball coach at Coldwater High School since 1998 and a member of the Dayton Flyers Hall of Fame, died on Wednesday at 51, the school announced.

“The Coldwater Family has suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of a beloved teacher and baseball coach Mr. Brian Harlamert,” Superintendent Doug Mader said in a statement. “We want to extend our deepest sympathies to the Harlamert family and Mr. Harlamert’s colleagues, students, players and friends.”

A cause of death was not announced.

Harlamert coached Coldwater to state championships in 2014 and 2019 and runner-up finishes in 2004 and 2018. It also reached the state final four under him in 2000, 2008 and 2009.

“Coach Brian Harlamert is going to be missed by so many,” Coldwater Athletic Director Eric Goodwin wrote on Twitter. “Touched so many lives with his positive words to everyone and hard work ethic. Prayers to his family. We love you Coach Harley! Going to miss this smile greatly.”

Harlamert was inducted into the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in January. He won his 400th game in 2016 and reached the 500 career victory milestone in 2021.

After his 500th victory, Harlamert thanked his wife Trish and their four children and the rest of his family on Twitter. He also thanked the Coldwater administration, his many players, current and former, and the parents and community for helping him along the way.

“I am so blessed and thankful,” Harlamert wrote. “Words can’t express how I feel.”

Harlamert became the second Coldwater coach to reach the milestone. Lou Brunswick won 750 games from 1969-1993.

Harlamert played for two of Brunswick’s five state championship teams. He was a freshman when Coldwater won the title in 1987 and a senior in 1990. He was a pitcher and outfielder.

Credit: Bill Garlow

Credit: Bill Garlow

After graduating from UD, Harlamert spent three years as an assistant coach on Bob “Gabby” Wilker’s staff.

When Harlamert got the job at Coldwater in 1998, he told the Lima News, “Regardless of the coach, there’s high expectations here. I don’t see it as the pressure’s on me. I see it as a challenge. If we can’t live up to the challenge, it’ll turn into pressure. I’m used to that attitude as a player.”

In the same Lima News story, Wilker said of Harlamert, “He’s got good rapport with the players, and he’s a good motivator. He’s relaxed but intense. He keeps the players loose.”

When Harlamert won his first state championship as a coach in 2014, it was the program’s first since 1992. The team reached the final four seven times before winning the state title again by beating Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy 4-2 in Columbus.

”It feels awesome,” Harlamert said then. “It’s my fifth time coming here. I’ve said all along it’s not about me, it’s about we and us. We’ve got heart, and we’ve got a passionate program. I said before the game started the best team will win. And I think the best team won.”

Harlamert was the first baseball player to receive a scholarship at UD. He remains the program’s all-time leader in games played (230) and ranks second in home runs (38) behind another Coldwater graduate: Brooks Vogel (45, 1998-2001).

Harlamert hit 15 home runs as a senior in 1994. That was then the second best single-season total in school history and now is tied for fourth.

Harlamert played for Dayton from 1991-94 and was inducted into UD’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

“We know that Mr. Harlamert’s death may raise different emotions, concerns, and questions for our Coldwater Community, especially our students and staff,” Mader said. “Coldwater Schools has a Crisis Team composed of professionals trained to help with the needs of students and school personnel at difficult times such as this. We have counselors and other adults available at the school for those who may need support.

“As the school community continues to cope with the loss, we will work together as a Coldwater Family through the healing process.  When arrangements are made, we will communicate the details to our community.

““We will be holding a prayer vigil tonight, Wednesday, September 21st at 7:30 p.m. in the Catholic Church parking lot. If it is raining, we will hold the vigil inside the church.”

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