The Student News Site of Bear River High School

The Current

The Current

The Current

Van Patten retiring from longtime coaching role

Coach Eric Van Patten had coached Varsity Baseball for many years before leaving the Bruin community a few weeks ago. Courtesy photo

With long-term Bear River Varsity Baseball Coach Eric Van Patten’s departure from Grass Valley to Tennessee a few weeks ago, Bruins reminisced on the meaningful mark he made on our athletic community.

Senior Nicolas Baltz had played for Coach Van Patten, affectionately referred to as Coach VP by his student athletes, since freshman year and shared some good memories from over the years.

“Coach was always such a friendly, positive, uplifting person,” said Baltz. “Me and all the guys knew we could come to him at any time and he would be there for us. My favorite memory of Coach was our car rides to playoff games… Him singing to rap songs in the car and cracking jokes.”

Senior Colby Lunsford recalled a fond memory of playing on Coach Van Patten’s team.

“Some good memories of being on his team was going to the section game my sophomore year,” Lunsford said. 

Junior Kenneth Baltz emphasized his appreciation of Coach Van Patten

“Coach VP always kept the energy around the field very alive,” said Baltz. “Some of my most enjoyable memories were generated from the coach to player chemistry.”

In wake of his departure, Coach Van Patten’s position was passed on to Russell Bracket. He expressed his enthusiasm for taking on the job.

“I am the new Head of the Varsity program and cannot tell you how excited I am!” Brackett said. “I was elated to receive the call that I had gotten the job as it’s something of a dream job for me … I just want to thank Bear River for the opportunity and I will do everything I can to give every player the best opportunity to learn and grow as baseball players but more importantly as young men.”

Coach Brackett further explained his relations to Bear River and baseball.

“I was a Nevada Union graduate so I grew up playing against Bear River but I did not know how great of a school it was until I began dating my wife Brittani who is a Bear River grad,” said Brackett. “I was then the head of Gold Country Baseball Academy where I got to see so many great players and families (many from South County) grow and succeed on and off the field and got to know many of them as a coach but also as friends. Bear River is what I always pictured a high school should be like.”

Baltz noted that he has known Coach Brackett for a few years and holds him in high regard.

“I’ve actually known Russel for quite some time now. He has been my coach since I was around 10 or 11 [years old], and he has always been about maximizing effort and attitude,” he said. “He teaches the game correctly and I am very excited to see how this season goes.”

Lunsford added a final thought on his experience with Coach Van Patten.

“I’ll sure miss you Coach VP,” said Lunsford. “You have been a big part of my life for the past three years and I won’t forget how much you have taught me. Thanks for everything.”

Donate to The Current

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bear River High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Current

Activate Search
Van Patten retiring from longtime coaching role