Baseball Coach Eugene Stechschulte
Eugene Stechschulte is Ohio Northern’s current Head Baseball coach. He has been coaching baseball at ONU for 9 years, with an additional 8 years of baseball coaching prior to coming to ONU. Stechschulte grew up in Kalida, Ohio where he was the youngest of seven children. As a child, Stechschulte was familiar with ONU because his team used the school’s athletic trainers for rehab. He played multiple sports including baseball, basketball, soccer, and was also involved in band and musicals during high school. Academics were also important in his family because his family did not have a lot of money so scholarships were imperative to afford college. Extracurriculars were second to academics, which still holds true in Stechschulte’s values today. “I’m more of an academic person first, before anything else,” said Stechschulte.
Stechschulte attended Ashland University where he played both basketball and baseball, however, he shifted his focus to baseball during his junior and senior years. As a college student, Stechschulte felt that the school was putting too much emphasis on athletics and not enough on his education, despite the fact that he attended on an academic scholarship. “The focus was never on the academic side of things, the focus was about staying eligible to play the sport, which is completely contrary to why you go to college,” said Stechschulte, “I wish I would have gone to Ohio Northern as opposed to any other school, not because Ashland is a bad school, but because of the academics first approach at ONU.”
After college, Stechsculte played major league baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals as their pitcher. Stechschulte does not have memorabilia from his time in the major leagues because he is here for the students. “That’s my story, I don’t want this to be about my story. I want this to be about what they’re [his players] going to do,” said Stechschulte. After multiple shoulder surgeries which ended his playing career, Stechschulte flipped a coin with his wife and moved back to Ohio.
With his business and economic background from college, he opened his own business doing financial services and coaching Lima’s summer ball, however he enjoyed coaching so much he eventually moved into his current position as ONU’s head coach. “I wasn’t really looking into coaching college, but I knew that if I was going to it needed to be a school that was academics first,” said Stechschulte, “A lot of bigger schools that want me to coach, like to put on the resume that their coach played in the major leagues, those schools I’m not interested in because they’re not academic first schools. Most of my guys take the tougher majors on campus they wouldn’t be allowed to take at bigger, division 1 schools.”
Stechschulte is a strong believer in academics first, which is why he appreciates his position at ONU because ONU places its strongest emphasis on education. He is fascinated by his players’ psyche. “There’s always turning on the switch of when we’re on the field, to have a little more grit to them. It’s always fun to see that balance between ‘man, he’s a really nice, smart guy,’ but then when you step on the field, that’s the guy you don’t want to play against because he is the toughest guy on the field,” Stechschulte said, “it’s interesting to see them studying before the game in the dugout and then going onto the field to play.”