With a .850 coaching win percentage (952-168), Al established himself in 16 years of managing as one of the best on field leaders in Illinois, after beginning his coaching career in 1972. That is when he formed the Bee-Hive team of Waterloo. During the following 10 years, he led Mike's Tavern of Waterloo and B-Street Blues of Belleville to winning seasons, which prepared him to form and lead one of the finest teams in Southern Illinois history, the Belleville Budweiser squad.
This team captured the 1984 Class B State title and went on to finish 2nd in the Class B World Tournament. In 1986 and 1987 the team finished 2nd in the Class A State Tournament and went on to six Top 8 World Tournament finishes in ten years. During this span, the team also captured a 2nd and a 3rd place in five National Invitational Tournament appearances.
Al realizes that to create a winner, you have to have winners and he had plenty of talented individuals to go around with the likes of Dirk Androff, Danny Albert, Mike O'Connor, Leon Kreher, Larry Malone and hopefully more future hall of famers. Al also acknowledges that the USSSA provided opportunities for his teams to play in some great sports complexes across the country, while also competing against some of the best teams.
Al recalls that perhaps his biggest thrill was playing against Elite Coatings when they reached #1 at the men's major level and the Bud team was tied with them in the last inning, even though they wound up losing by three runs. He also is thrilled that he got to see Dirk Androff succeed to the top level of the softball game, while playing for Steele's and Richie's Superior in the Men's Major program.
Al's most memorable experiences were capturing the Class B State Tournament in Peoria and being the last undefeated team in the Great Lakes Class B Divisional Tournament in Rockford. Any good manager takes care of his players, which Al was trying to do with the sun shining in outfielder, Danny Albert's eyes, but when Al asked him if he needed a pair of sun glasses, Albert replied, "No, I am fine!" Soon afterward, Albert lost a ball in the sun and got hit on top of the "noggin!"
Tonight, Albert again might again need sunglasses, as his shining star manager is welcomed into the Illinois Hall of Fame.