Coach Kelso sets all-time TN baseball win record

Coach Kelso sets all-time TN baseball win record

(From the Commercial Appeal 5/2/2014 -

Even on a night when he became the all-time winningest coach in Tennessee baseball history, Buster Kelso was reluctant to talk about himself.

Kelso, who has been at CBHS since the 1985-86 school year, earned the 934th win of his career Thursday as his team turned back Briarcrest, 4-1.

“I think this is the best job in the state,” said Kelso, who has won eight state titles at CBHS, including last year.

“We’ve been blessed with great players and great coaches down through the years. But tonight was all about the game. This was a big game.”

The victory gave the host Brothers the top seed in the West Region tournament, which begins Saturday at Briarcrest. The Saints, who entered on a 24-game winning streak and lost for the first time since mid-March, will be the No. 2 seed.

But try as he might to downplay the occasion, all eyes were on Kelso as he was honored at home plate alongside his daughter, Kacie, and his father, Buddy, who has seen 2,842 of his son’s games.

“He’s all about fundamentals,” said Jimmy Broughton, who played for Kelso at Bishop Byrne in 1980.

“We had won the state championship the year before he came in and we didn’t know Buster from Adam. But I think we went 31-3 that year. He showed us that the things you do in the winter will pay off in the spring.”

Said Colin Kilgore, who pitched three innings of hitless relief to secure the victory, “He’s always fun in the dugout but he can be real serious. He always tells us to win the inning, never take an inning off. He’s fun to play for.”

CBHS (28-3) got all the runs it would need in the first.

With one out, Josh Russell reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on a single by John Wesley Ray. Corey Herndon rapped a double down the left-field line to make it 1-0 and Roman Novarese then brought in Ray with a perfectly placed bunt single.

Breck Ruddick then flared a single just over the infield to make it 3-0.

Briarcrest (25-2) got one back in the second, when Von Watson led off with a double and came around on David Foster’s single.

The Brothers extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth on Novarese’s two-out RBI single.

CBHS got a strong start from right-hander James Muse, who gave up just two hits and struck out eight in four innings.

Austin Newell took the loss for the Saints.

Earlier Thursday at CBHS, Memphis University School wrapped up the third seed in the region tournament with a 9-0 victory over St. Benedict.

Seth Young homered to back a strong effort from starter Hugh Fisher to lead the Owls.

© 2014 Memphis Commercial Appeal. All rights reserved.



Coach Buster Kelso played and lettered in football, basketball, and baseball at Treadwell High School. After graduation he went on to CBC playing centerfield his freshman year before transferring to Columbia, Missouri completing a degree in Business Administration in 1974. Coach Kelso earned a Masters in Education from Memphis State in 1982.

Over a seven-year period at Country Day School, Coach Kelso served as a teacher, Vice Principal, AD and coach of football, basketball (boys & girls) and baseball. After leaving CDS he taught Accounting & Business Law at Bishop Byrne High School as well as serving as AD and continued coaching football, basketball and baseball (1980 State Champions) over a four-year period.


In 1985, Coach Kelso joined the staff at Christian Brothers High School. Over the years he has taught Economics & Accounting, served as Business Manager and is currently in the position of Director of Giving Programs. In past years he coached the CBHS cross country teams as well as serving as head varsity baseball coach for the past 29 years. He has assembled a varsity baseball record of 933-262 including 8 state championships, 3 runners-up, 5 semi-finals and reaching the state quarter-finals 5 other times. (With this 934th victory, Coach Kelso is now the most victorious coach in the state of Tennessee, surpassing long-time Germantown and Bartlett coach Phil Clark.)


Coach Kelso’s favorite baseball experience is seeing young men come to CBHS from various feeder schools as competitors and leave as a unified team of lifelong friends. His wife Kathy is a real estate appraiser and his daughter Kacie has graduated from UT-Knoxville and is now a licensed social worker for the Shelby County Schools. His father Buddy has seen 2,842 of his son’s games.


(Phoro caption: Coach Buster Kelso with daughter Kacie and father Buddy following the victory over Briarcrest. Photo by Lance Sanderson, Purple Wave Photography)