Osakis baseball coach Shad Schmidt has built up quite a resume in leading the Silverstreaks over the last 13 seasons.
His tenure includes a 157-106-1 career record. He led Osakis to its only state tournament appearance when the Silverstreaks finished second at the Class A level in 2013. Now Osakis will have to find a way to replace him after Schmidt resigned from his head coaching position on May 11 at the Osakis School Board meeting.
Schmidt went from teaching in Osakis to a role as the district’s elementary principal three years ago. At that time, he asked the school board to give him three more seasons as the Silverstreaks’ baseball coach.
Coaching as a school administrator is difficult due to the many after-school responsibilities that come up as a principal, but Schmidt had a big group of sophomores at the time that he wanted to see through to their senior years.
“They weren’t holding me to that,” Schmidt said of the Osakis School Board. “No one brought it up. No one told me I had to be done. I feel confident in saying that if I had asked to continue, they probably would have let me. But I asked them for three years, and I wanted to follow through on that. There were times I needed to be two places at once. I needed to be here at school for staff or students, but I also needed to be at baseball.”
Schmidt was grateful for the help of assistant coach Bill Infanger over the last few years. If times came up where Schmidt could not be at a practice or was running late, he knew Infanger could step in well and keep practices running.
“I know we could have continued the same way,” Schmidt said. “I did think about it a lot, but it really just came down to I need to be available to my staff and students in my role as principal.”
On a personal level, Schmidt also wants to watch his youngest daughter, Shelbe, play more during her final two seasons in softball. He missed out on that opportunity with his oldest daughter, Skyler, having only gotten to watch one of her games in a Silverstreaks’ uniform.
Every coach and athlete is missing their spring season this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Schmidt was especially looking forward to this spring knowing it was likely going to be his last. He had a group of eight seniors back for a team that went 17-6 a year ago.
Six of those seniors in Mason Moore, Hunter Infanger, Luke Imdieke, Carter Rost, Luke Staloch and Isaac Froemming have been starters on this team for at least three years each.
“Baseball is such a big part of my life, a part of my family’s life,” Schmidt said. “It’s part of who we are. Just to not have a season in general, but it’s even worse when you have a group of seniors that you’ve spent a lot of time with and truly, truly enjoy being around. We all just were comfortable with each other, and I just love those kids. It was so hard not to have this season.”
This group has put together some good records in recent years, but moving up to the Class AA level has made long tournament runs more difficult. Section 6AA is regularly one of the top sections in the state, and this year’s field would have featured 18 programs.
Powers such as Foley, St. Cloud Cathedral, Albany and Pierz were expected to field good teams again this spring, but Schmidt would have loved the chance to see what a veteran group could have done come tournament time.
“We always want to achieve the most we can and get to state, but some years you know you have a better chance than others,” he said. “I truly believe we were a top four, top three team. I think we had every opportunity to win the section and go to state. I’m not saying we were the favorite, but we had a good enough team where we could give it a legitimate run.”
Schmidt said the 2013 run to the state-title game at Target Field is a memory that group of players and coaches will never forget, but it’s not what ultimately stands out as he looks back on his tenure as head coach.
“What stands out is the relationships that I was able to build with a lot of these students,” Schmidt said. “Just seeing these guys grow up into men, get married, become fathers. Some still stay in touch. It’s really those memories, and I think the memories that were created with my own family. It’s really a part of who we are as a family. That’s been huge for me.”
It’s why some day, Schmidt could see a scenario coming up where he might want to get back in the dugout. He said he knew from the time he was 17-years old that he wanted to be a head baseball coach. Now at 40, his passion for baseball is still there even as he steps away.
“I thought of myself as a lifer,” Schmidt said. “Someone who would coach until they retired from teaching, so I’m not going to say that I won’t ever go back in the dugout. There are scenarios where I potentially would. Whether that be summer program, whether that be helping out in softball, but the situation would have to be right. I would have to make sure that I’m doing what’s best for our school district before I would do that.”