Dedicated Driver: A Bus Driver’s Softball Spirit

Mike Trude isn’t just a bus driver — he’s the “grandpa” of the Waukee Northwest High School varsity softball team.

“All of them, I think of them like grandchildren. I get them for the fun stuff. It’s just great,” says Trude.

Becoming the Team Driver

For years, Coach Carrie Eby has requested Trude to drive her NWHS varsity softball team, so he’s committed to driving the team to every away game.

The team likes that Trude lets them play their own music and, of course, keeps them safe. He says it’s different driving a school bus than his years driving a semi-truck.

“You can always replace whatever you haul in a semi. This is something you take more seriously. You can’t replace anything here.”

Image of bus driver with high school softball players in a school bus.

Connecting with the Wolves Community

When Trude gets the team to its destination, he doesn’t sit on the bus and wait. He takes his spot next to the fence to cheer on the Wolves.

“Anybody can drive a bus, but I think you need to make a connection with the people,” Trude says, adding that he knows most of the players’ names.

Bus drive Mike Trude watching NWHS softball from the fence.

“He’s one of the only people I hear when I’m pitching. Some of the things he says like, ‘Take a breath’ or ‘Just one more pitch,’ it really helps me collect myself while I’m pitching and keep going,” Wolves pitcher Aubrey Schultz says.

“When you hear Mike, you kind of feel a different kind of energy and vibe from him,” Wolves catcher Kaylee Cords says.

“He’s more of a calm-you-down type of guy than a rile-you-up type of guy,” Schultz agrees.

Bus drive Mike Trude talking to two NWHS Wolves softball players by the fence.

Driving Perks

“You get into the games for free, and it’s a lot of fun. I didn’t know much about softball when I first started, but the more I drive for them the more I learn and get into it,” Trude says.

Trude has driven for Durham School Services, which provides bus services for Waukee Community School District, for 12 years. Besides driving for the softball team, he drives other NWHS sports and activities and runs daily routes during the school year. For the 2023-24 year, he brought students to and from Walnut Hills Elementary and Trailridge School.

To learn more about Waukee CSD bus driving, call Durham School Services at 515-987-2788.