Stechschulte named head coach at Ohio Northern

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Stechschulte is the 24th head coach in ONU baseball history.
Ohio Northern athletics photo

Former Major League pitcher Gene Stechschulte has been named the head baseball coach at Ohio Northern, effective immediately. Stechschulte is the 24th head coach in ONU baseball history, but is just the fifth head coach since 1971.

“I am excited to have this great opportunity at Ohio Northern,” Stechschulte said. “I have a great deal of respect for Ohio Northern and am ready to get started right away. I hope to bring the baseball program up to a level of success that many of the other sports at ONU are.”

He also serves as head coach of the Lima Locos, a summer collegiate league team. Stechschulte guided the Locos to an 18-21-1 record in 2010 and is 89-58-1 in four seasons overall as a head coach with the Locos and the Ottawa American Legion Post 63 team.

The Lima native enjoyed a 4-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals from 2000-03 after an All-American career at Ashland. Stechschulte made his major league debut on April 20, 2000, against the San Diego Padres. He struck out the first batter he faced, Mike Darr, to begin his career in style.

In four seasons, he was 8-7 with six saves, a 4.58 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 116 appearances out of the bullpen. His best season came in his final year of 2002 when he was 6-2 with a 4.78 ERA in 29 games.

Stechschulte also has the distinction of being the 16th major league player in history to hit a home run on the first pitch seen in a MLB game. He hit a 2-run home run as a pinch-hitter off of Armando Reynoso in the bottom of the 6th inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 17, 2001.

He spent seven years in the minor leagues and was a Minor-League All-Star and won the Midwest League’s Best Relief Pitcher Award when he had a 2.59 ERA and 33 saves for the Single-A Peoria Chiefs that year.

He was 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. He was a 1st Team All-American and Academic All-American as a shortstop. His 15 home runs and 143 total bases are still the third-best single-season marks in AU history.

Stechschulte graduated first in his class from Ashland School of Business and Economics, Summa Cum Laude, in 1996.