It’s all about baseball for Dave Whitmire.
A graduate of Bowling Green High School and Bowling Green State University, Whitmire is a health teacher, varsity baseball coach and the middle school athletic director at Springfield High School. During the summer months he runs travel baseball tournaments.
He married Annie in 2000, and they have four boys all playing sports, including baseball.
“David was a player when I was still coaching at our old facility on Mercer Road,” said Tim Dunn, the longtime president of the board for baseball at Carter Park. “You could tell from early on he had a love for the game of baseball. He has studied the game, he coaches well in the game. He is very prepared for game situations.
“He was a high-energy guy. He seemed to commit to the game and was a coach’s player,” Dunn continued. “I got to watch him from a young age all the way through high school and college.
“It’s a love of baseball. Just being around the game and working with him for all these years for the tournaments, it has been a pleasure,” Dunn added.
All that came to a screeching halt in April 2019 when Whitmire was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a small intestinal cancer. It’s a very rare cancer, with less than 15,000 cases a year.
“I got the news right before we were heading to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with the high school team. We try to go every three years,” Whitmire said.
When he started chewing ice for the first time in his life, he learned that was a sign that he had a low-iron count.
“Then I had a CT scan that showed a baseball size tumor on the outside of my intestine; they think I had it for a year,” Whitmire said. “It was just a weird situation.”
After a biopsy, it was determined that it was cancer and the tumor had to be removed.
After he elevated his iron level, Whitmire had surgery on May 8, 2019 at Toledo Hospital.
“They took eight inches of my intestine, six inches of my colon and five of my bladder to remove the tumor,” Whitmire said. “When I got the results, everything came back clean.
“Then it was six months of chemo and I finished that on Dec. 4,” he continued. “Two months after the chemo, the results came back good from a scan and I was declared in full remission.
“Now it’s more of a precautionary thing and I have to have scans every three months for a couple of years. You are looking at that five-year window without any problems,” he added. “I had a new vision on life and there was great support from a lot of people.”
“We prayed that this wasn’t going to come back. It sounds like it’s pretty clean and he’s doing well,” Dunn said. “His weight is back. He looks good. He seems to be in a calm stage in his life.”
While at BGHS, Whitmire, a 1989 graduate, earned three letters in both basketball and baseball and was voted first-team All-Northern Lakes League in both sports his senior year.
At BGSU Whitmire played baseball from 1989-91 for Ed Platzer.
He graduated in 1994 and started his baseball coaching career with Elmwood head coach Kyle Reiser for three years.
“Kyle Reiser helped me in a lot of ways,” Whitmire said.
In 1997, Whitmire became the head baseball coach at Otsego for three years. The Knights won the Suburban Lakes League title in 1997.
“I inherited a good team coached by Randy Donald the year before,” Whitmire said about the 1997 championship.
Whitmire started his teaching career in 1998 at Springfield High School.
“Luckily Springfield was very, very good to me,” Whitmire said about being able to coach elsewhere. “That put a lot of miles on my car.”
As a coach, Whitmire moved on in 2000-01 as an assistant at Owens Community College, helping win a championship each year.
He would become an assistant with Danny Schmitz at BGSU until 2008, helping win Mid-American Conference championships in 2002 and 2008.
“Probably the toughest decision of my life was to leave BGSU. I really wanted to stay in the college game,” Whitmire said. “It got to the point that I had to choose between that and my boys … I was gone all the time.
“I really enjoyed my time at BGSU because I like the college game so much,” he added.
Whitmire then took the head coaching job at Springfield in 2009, a school that had never won an NLL baseball championship.
“We have been close a couple of times and that is my ultimate goal to win an NLL championship,” Whitmire said.
After not being able to coach the Blue Devils in 2019, he was ready for the 2020 season to step out on the field after beating cancer.
That did not happen with the current pandemic.
“It was a tough pill to swallow,” Whitmire said,
In addition to coaching at Springfield, Whitmire has worked with summer travel tournaments for over two decades. He was the founder and president of the Northwest Ohio Amateur Baseball League in 1994, the biggest league in Northwest Ohio with over 100 teams. He is currently the Northwest Ohio director for Nations Baseball and he was formerly with United States Specialty Sports Association.