Koele steps up as new St. Croix Central baseball coachJason Koele has produced excellent results in his first year as the St. Croix Central High School band instructor. He is hoping to deliver the same type of success as Central’s new varsity baseball coach.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Jason Koele has produced excellent results in his first year as the St. Croix Central High School band instructor. He is hoping to deliver the same type of success as Central’s new varsity baseball coach.
Koele (pronounced coo-lee) was hired after Mike Fern announced his retirement from the position due to health concerns. Fern had coached the Panthers the past 13 seasons.
Koele, 24, is a Prescott native. He was an all-Middle Border Conference baseball player at Prescott. He attended Augsburg University. He helped form and coach a club lacrosse team at Augsburg, but this will be his first formal coaching position.
Because there is no pep band in the spring, Koele said he has the time to commit to the baseball program.
Koele said he will rely on his two assistant coaches, Kevin Doyle and Kevin Reutz, as he learns the finer points of coaching.
“I’m a student of the game and I’m learning every day. I never thought with being band director I’d have the time or opportunity (to coach). I’m very fortunate to be placed in the position I’m in,” Koele said.
Koele said he will also rely on his Prescott roots as resources. He’s been in contact with his high school coach, Steve Block, now the varsity coach at Ellsworth, and with current Prescott coach Jeff Ryan, trying to learn coaching strategies from them.
Maintaining a high standard, on and off the field, is important to Koele. He is stressing academics. The team has a workout at 6:30 a.m. each day, followed by a 30-minute session where they can work on homework or meet with teachers before the school day starts.
Koele said he brings a positive, energetic style to teaching and coaching.
“Being positive and reinforcing the fundamentals is important. We coach with a performance-based ideology, much like we do in music,” he said.
The Panthers have 30 players out for the team, including seven seniors. Koele said the players have responded well to the coaches and there has been steady progress made in the opening practices. The Panthers play their first game under Koele next Monday at Hammond.