If the late, great Dick Mason is regarded as the “patriarch” of the Waverley Baseball Club and its doyen of (junior) coaching, then we can only be glad that he was able to hand over those reins to a man like DAVID WARREN.
In many ways David Warren maintained the excellence of the “Dick Mason era” with his lifelong dedication to coaching junior players at Waverley Baseball Club. A disciple of the “Mason Way”, David Warren has strictly maintained most of the principles initiated by Dick and then added his own stamp of dedication and quality to produce a record that it would be virtually impossible to match.
At the time of writing (2006) David is embarking on what he says will be his final season of coaching Waverley’s U14 Wildcats and overseeing our Under 14 program, bringing to an end an unbroken period of 28 years at the helm.
It might well be enough for many to simply say that he aims to collect his 14th State League Premiership this season, but that would be much like mentioning the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to describing his influence on the history of the WBC.
A quiet and conservative man, who lives by the adage that actions speak much louder than words, David Warren has built his legend as a junior coach at Waverley but little is known about his own background. Clearly a lover of sports, David says that he literally “lived at the local park” where he participated in a variety sports and he “had a go at everything”. You would only need to witness the fitness, skill and reflexes that he still possesses beyond the age of seventy to imagine what type of athlete he might have been in his hey day… we reckon he’d have been pretty good at anything!
Not long after his introduction to Waverley with his young sons, David thrust himself into coaching and he quickly proved that he was a “natural” for the job. It was also early in his coaching career that he formed the opinion that the U13 / U14 age group was the most “important and influential” in terms of developing the fundamentals of baseball in young players. As mentioned, he took over the helm of Waverley’s U14 program some 28 years ago and it, along with our very solid U12 programs, has been the cornerstone of Waverley’s outstanding success in Victorian Baseball.
Along the way of course, David has also contributed in many other ways at Waverley Baseball Club, having filled virtually every role for the Juniors Program over all of those years and also serving for five years on the club’s Board of Management. He has been a Junior Director, Coordinator and an almost permanent contributor to Junior Committees over the years.
In addition to coaching Waverley, David has also coached Victorian State teams… a job that the VBA would have liked him to take more often, but David was always more dedicated and enthused with his own job of coaching the Wildcats. It is very typical of him to put the Waverley Baseball Club ahead of any personal aspirations he may have had… he has never been driven by ego.
It would be impossible to do proper justice to David’s performance and value as a coach with a few words on this page. Suffice to say that the players, parents and anyone who has ever been associated with his program have shared an experience that would never be forgotten. The solid baseball fundamentals about dedication to training, concentration, team play and sportsmanship have served so many players at Waverley so well throughout their ongoing careers.
Most of those players enjoyed the success that comes from hard work, team ethics and dedication… it is those things, and others, that are the David Warren legacy, instilled in the hundreds of players who have prospered from his coaching and mentoring. It would be enough satisfaction for David Warren simply to know that he has had such a positive influence on so many young players both as people and as baseballers. Few of his former players ever miss the opportunity to chat with him whenever they meet, he is held is tremendous esteem by all of them.
As a tribute to his 25th year of coaching our U14 Wildcats, in 2003, the club held a home match day in his honour and, at the same time, announced that our traditional U14 diamond (No.8) on Mason Field would henceforth forever be named the “DAVID WARREN DIAMOND”. We can be quite sure that the club will never have a person more deserving of this tribute.
Perhaps due to his “aura” and his preference to keep mostly to himself, some have misguidedly assumed that David is somewhat “unapproachable”, but those who know him can attest that nothing could be further from the truth. For those that take the trouble to talk with him, they would find an extremely intelligent, eloquent and engaging person who is only too happy to explain his methods and to elaborate on his principles about his beloved game of baseball… and many other subjects besides.
Of course David would not like us to end this page without mentioning those loyal and devoted assistants who have also given up so many thousands of hours to our U14 program with little recognition. Another Waverley great and Life Member Gary McGrady has been a vital cog in the wheel, specialising in pitchers and catchers, while also branding most of the player nicknames that they were to carry throughout the years. Gary’s dry sense of wit has always been a constant relief through countless hours of training and batting practice. Another stalwart Waverley player Michael Banbury has also been a key component as specialist defensive and batting coach, while also managing from third base on game days. Michael’s wife Linda has also been the permanent scorer for the U14 Wildcats through innumerable seasons of all kinds of weather extremes!
By no means least, and certainly most, is David’s wife Jenny who has provided all the support and encouragement necessary for David to devote so much of his life to the job as he has. Jenny has also been one of our club’s most faithful supporters, going to most of the games with David and generally making sure that the “parents scene” was kept in social order. Our thanks to all of them!
The challenge for the club that will probably prove impossible is to find an adequate replacement for a true icon of the Waverley Baseball Club… David Warren. We don’t expect that David will stop following the fortunes of the Waverley Baseball Club and for anyone who should see him taking in a game in the confines of our clubrooms you can be assured that you are in the presence of one of the people who has been integral to making our club what it is today.
As a final tribute from Waverley we will transpose some text from a report following the 2003 U14 Wildcats Premiership success:
TWENTY FIVE YEARS of commitment to the job and 13 State League Championships as proof of his unique talents almost says enough about our “once in a lifetime” Head Coach Mr. David Warren! It would not be doing him justice to attempt to chronicle here how much Mr.Warren means to the Waverley Baseball Club and those players who have had the privilege of participating in his tremendous baseball program. Not only is Mr.Warren successful, but also he does it with a style and unwavering integrity rarely equaled in sport. Not under any circumstances will Mr.Warren forsake his fundamental principles about player development and how the game should be played. David is a true gentleman in a tough world of competitive sport… he has the respect of everyone in the baseball fraternity and we at Waverley don’t believe there is a finer coach anywhere to be found!