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Schaly becomes seventh coach in D-II history to reach 1,100 milestone

Steve Shrenkel

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Ashland University baseball coach John Schaly has known nothing but success throughout his time as a collegiate head coach. He is not only a baseball lifer but also quite simply put, a winner.

On March 31 at Wayne State University, Schaly won his 1,100 game of his career. He became just the seventh coach in NCAA Division II history to do so. His current record sits at 1,107-613-7. This is his 31st year as a college baseball coach.

Schaly is currently amid his 21st year in AU’s dugout. He holds a record of 745-395-4 with the Eagles.

“You figure when you’ve been around as long as I have, you’re going to get there (1,100) eventually,” Schaly said.

When he reached 1,100 wins after the Eagles series with the Warriors, at first no one had really realized it, including Schaly himself.

“Honestly when this happened, I don’t think any of us knew it,” Schaly said. “Nobody talked about it up at Wayne. None of our players our assistant coaches knew it. We were just getting ready for the next game and then just kind of figured it all out.”
For Schaly, achieving the career milestone reminds him of just how long he has been coaching and the players that have come through his life.

“It means that I’ve been around a long time,” Schaly said. “I’m able to reflect back on all the talented great players that we’ve had but more importantly how hard they worked and bought into our system.”

Besides remembering the players throughout his time as a baseball coach, Schaly also is reminded of the assistant coaches and the part that they have played in helping him achieve such great success.

“Along with players is also just a lot of great assistant coaches,” Schaly said. “This is something where you need a lot of help. One guy can’t do it. I’ve been lucky and blessed to have some really, really good assistant coaches.”

Schaly got his first collegiate head coaching start at Berry (Ga.) where he started the program. During his four years there, he had a record of 155-91.

After Berry, he had moved on to coach at St. Leo for six years. While there, his teams had achieved two seasons in which they had won 40 or more games.

This all culminated with him landing in Ashland University for his next coaching gig in 1998.

While at Ashland, Schaly has experienced nothing but success. He has lead the Eagles to the NCAA postseason 14 times. They have also won four regional championships and reached the NCAA Division II College World Series four times.

This past year, Schaly also had the distinct honor to be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame alongside his late father, Don. They are the second father-son duo to do so.

Don Schaly coached at Marietta college for 40 seasons, earning 1,442 wins in the process, showing that baseball runs deep within the blood of the Schaly family.

“A lot of what I do, I got from my father,” Schaly said. “That winning approach and process I kind of just grew up with. 80 to 90 percent of what I do, I got from my dad.”

One of the ways that Schaly has employed his father’s teachings at AU involved letting the veteran players on a team mentor the younger ones.

“My father said that sometimes a program runs itself because of the older players,” Schaly said. “Our older players and veterans teach the younger guys how we do things and treat each day.”

The relationship between his father and himself has been nothing short of special. When he hit 1,100, the moment only could have been made sweeter if he could have shared it with his father.

“It’s a great feeling to reach that many wins,” Schaly said. “I just wish he was here to see it himself. Anytime the two of us can be talked about in the same sentence, it means a lot to me. He’s the reason I’m doing what I’m doing now.”

Currently, the Eagles have come off an impressive six game winning streak with a series sweep against the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals. They have also won the last nine out of 10 games.

The ballclub has made this season very enjoyable to coach, he said.

“We’ve got great senior leadership on the team this year,” Schaly said. “This is a fun group to work with. I really enjoy coming to work everyday and being around these guys.”

Even though Schaly has yet another accomplishment to add to his belt, he isn’t planning to stop coaching any time soon.

“I’ve got a long way to go yet,” Schaly said. “I’m going to be coaching for many years to come. I enjoy what I’m doing and ultimately, I will keep doing it as long as I keep enjoying every day.”

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