Former Major League pitcher Gene Stechschulte is in his ninth season as head baseball coach at Ohio Northern. He is the 24th head coach in ONU baseball history, but just the fifth head coach since 1971.
In just eight years at Ohio Northern, Stechschulte ranks second all-time in career coaching victories, trailing only legendary coach Herb Strayer who coached the Polar Bears for 31 seasons. He currently owns a 182-133 (.578) record in eight seasons at the helm of the program.
During the 2019 campaign, the Polar Bears posted a 23-18 overall record and a 10-8 mark in the Ohio Athletic Conference to tie for third in the final league standings. For the effort, ONU made its second consecutive appearance in the OAC Tournament and recorded its fifth OAC upper-division finish in six seasons.
The Polar Bears also won their first OAC postseason contest since the 2000 campaign with an opening-game victory over 2019 NCAA Division III College World Series competitor Heidelberg.
In a historic, record-breaking 2018 season, Stechschulte guided Northern to a 27-15 overall record and an 11-7 mark in conference play. He led the Polar Bears to their first OAC Tournament postseason berth in 18 years, new individual and team single-season hit records, and a new record for doubles hit in a single season (83).
During the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Stechschulte helped coach T.J. Storer to back-to-back All-American seasons. Storer was named a Third-Team All-American in 2016 before garnering Second-Team honors in 2017.
Under his guidance, the Polar Bears also set a school record with 79 victories from 2014-2016.
During his coaching career, Stechschulte has also been the head coach of the Lima Locos, a summer collegiate league team, and the Ottawa American Legion Post 63 team. He owns a 121-73-1 in five seasons overall as the head coach for the two programs.
In addition, he guided the Locos to a 32-15 record and the Great Lakes League title in 2011.
Prior to his coaching career, the Kalida native enjoyed a four-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals from 2000-03 after an All-American career at Ashland University.
Stechschulte made his major league debut on April 20, 2000 against the San Diego Padres. He started his career in style, striking out the first batter he faced, Mike Darr.
In four seasons, he posted an 8-7 record with six saves, a 4.58 ERA, and 84 strikeouts in 116 appearances out of the bullpen.
He also owned a 0.00 ERA in two postseason appearances with the Cardinals during the 2001 National League Divisional Series.
His best season came in 2002 when he finished 6-2 overall with a 4.78 ERA in 29 games.
Stechschulte also has the distinction of being just the 16th player in major league history to hit a home run on the first pitch seen in an MLB game.
He hit a two-run home run off Armando Reynoso as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 17, 2001.
He was a three-time Minor League All-Star and the Midwest League’s Best Relief Pitcher Award after recording a 2.59 ERA and 33 saves for the Single-A Peoria Chiefs.
Stechschulte graduated first in his class from Ashland School of Business and Economics with Summa Cum Laude honors in 1996.
He was a First-Team All-American and Academic All-American at shortstop. He was also a Regional Player of the Year and set school records for total bases, home runs, and RBI, leading Ashland to its first-ever NCAA Division II World Series appearance in 1995.
His 15 home runs and 143 total bases are still the third-best single-season marks in AU history.
In addition to his extensive playing and coaching credentials, Stechschulte has either coached or instructed more than 40 players that have gone on to play professional baseball.
Gene and his wife Krista have a son, Andrew, and two daughters, Katelyn and Ava. He is a Kalida High School graduate and resides in Findlay.
Baseball under Stechschulte
|2019||23-18||.561||10-8 / t3rd|
|2018||27-15||.643||11-7 / t3rd|
|2017||21-19||.525||7-11 / 7th|
|2016||21-16||.568||9-9 / 5th|
|2015||30-9||.769||12-6 / t2nd|
|2014||28-12||.700||11-7 / t4th|
|2013||17-21||.447||8-10 / t6th|
|2012||15-23||.395||7-10 / 8th|