By Jeff Arenz
MARSHALL - At the turn of 2014, Marshall A's manager Sean Culhane notified The Marshall Baseball Association of his retirement.
Culhane guided Marshall for the last seven seasons. During his first four years - 2007 through 2010 - Culhane and the A's qualified for the Class B State Tournament. Culhane's squads compiled an overall record of 96-38 since 2010.
"This is something that I debated for most of the fall," said Culhane, who notified MBA officials of his retirement on Jan. 3. "I have been involved with amateur baseball for the last 14 years seven as a player and seven as a manager. It's a huge time commitment and, at this point in my life, I decided that I would like to have more freedom to do some other things."
MBA President Kelly Loft spoke highly of Culhane and his tenure with the A's.
"I speak on behalf of The Marshall Baseball Association in saying we appreciate Sean's seven years of service as manager of the A's," Loft said. "He has been a great ambassador, not only for A's baseball, but to all of town team baseball in the area, as well."
Culhane said he cherishes the time he spent as the A's manager and enjoys how it allowed him to be in a position to meet very many people.
"Through my baseball career, I got to meet other managers and state board members," Culhane said. "Also, there have been a lot of different guys who have come through Marshall to play for the A's. It was quite an age range from early 30's to fresh out of high school that developed into lasting friendships."
In 2007, Culhane, then 25, was promoted to the managerial spot. He said the job required a diplomatic touch at the time.
"I was managing a lot of my friends when I became the A's manager," Culhane said. "That was interesting and tough at the same time. I had guys on the team that were older than me. I needed to find a balance of knowing, at the end of the day, that it was my call and also knowing some of the guys on the team had just as much baseball experience as I had."
Culhane said he relied upon the experience of other team members and asked questions whenever he needed help.
"I'm going to miss the small things - like going to the yard (Legion Field) an hour before a game, having the conversations we shared in the dugout and the car rides to places for road games," Culhane said. "I always said those things kept me young."
Loft said Culhane put in many long hours in making A's baseball a success and assembled a team Marshall fans enjoyed watching.
"Our success on the field of play was a credit to Sean," Loft said. "Leading the team to four state Class B tournaments is quite an accomplishment, as well as taking the team deep into the section playoff the last two years, in what many consider one of the toughest sections in the state."
Culhane will not be totally separated from the MBA. He will still serve the organization as a board member.
"The reason why I decided to announce my retirement now is because I wanted to give the next manager time to build a team for this season," Culhane said. "The new manager may need to find new guys to fill out the roster. This is also the time when scheduling starts to happen."
Loft said the MBA board will be meeting soon to discuss possible replacements for manager.
"We have talked about some individuals and are confident we'll find a person willing to continue the success of A's baseball," Loft said. "There are many things to plan for the 2014 season. So, we'd like to move quickly as possible."