Baumgartner, Bill (1949-2015)

William George Baumgartner
April 26, 1949-March, 2015

The following was submitted by Russ Blunck, family friend of Bill and Diane Baumgartner:

Legendary hall of fame baseball coach and longtime Salem resident Bill Baumgartner has passed away after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 65-years-old.

The former Sprague and Henley High School coach died in Phoenix, Arizona on March 3, surrounded by his wife of 45 years, Diane, and his children Terry, Jeff and Susie.

A memorial service is set for Monday, March 16, at 1 p.m. at the Morning Star Community Church in Salem.

Baumgartner spent 30 years as a teacher and coach in Salem and Klamath Falls. He had a career record of 408-257 (.614) during 26 years as a head baseball coach and was inducted into three halls of fame. He is a member of the Oregon High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Sprague High School Hall of Fame and the Henley High School Hall of Fame.

William George Baumgartner was born in Tillamook on April 26, 1949 to Fritz and Harriette Baumgartner. He graduated from Tillamook High School in 1967 where he starred in football and baseball. He spent his collegiate years at Oregon College of Education (now Western Oregon University) where he played baseball and was on the bowling team, graduating in 1972.

His career in education began at North Salem High School shortly thereafter. He coached football, gymnastics and junior varsity baseball at North for three years before accepting the baseball head coaching job at Henley High School in Klamath Falls in 1976.

In nine years at Henley, Baumgartner’s teams won state championships in 1981 and 1983 and also earned three conference titles. He was the OSAA Coach of the year in 1981. He had a record of 127-103 during that time, and along with his personal hall of fame induction, his ’81 and ’83 Hornet clubs were enshrined into the Henley Hall of Fame.

In 1986 he moved to Salem to accept the head coaching job at Sprague. In 17 years as the leader of the Olympians, he compiled a mark of 281-154 (.646). His teams qualified for the playoffs in 14 of those 17 years, winning four Valley League titles and a state championship in 1995. That ’95 squad, which included his son Jeff, is in the Sprague Hall of Fame. Baumgartner retired in 2002.

Bill spent his retirement years with Diane in Redmond and Phoenix. He was an avid tennis player and golfer, and also loved to hunt and fish. He enjoyed watching the career paths of his three children, all of whom followed his and Diane’s footsteps into education.

Bill is survived by his wife Diane, who was a longtime administrator in the Dallas School District; son Terry, former head baseball coach at Western Oregon and now the leader at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif; son Jeff, head baseball coach at Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix; and daughter Susie, a teacher at Luke Elementary in Phoenix. He has seven grandchildren, two brothers (Joe, Ken) and a sister (Shirlee).