By CASEY McDONALD
IU South Bend Baseball welcomed new Head Coach Doug Buysse in the fall of 2017.
Coach Buysse’s baseball background starts way back in his high school days, where he played at small town John Glenn high school. He then attended St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind, where he played for four years. After graduation, he got his start at coaching with his alma mater. Soon after, he returned to northern Indiana where he coached at multiple different high schools across the Michiana area, including South Bend Riley, John Glenn and South Bend Washington.
In its third season as a team, having a new coach the last three years has been a challenge for returning players at IUSB who have been continuously pushed to adjust to the new styles of teaching.
“The guys have been fantastic,” Buysse said about how he and his staff have worked with the players this off season. Each and every player on this team enjoys the work they do every day and puts in the effort to make a successful team.
Alongside the head coach are a handful of excellent assistants that will be joining the IU South Bend community. Trace Myers is the head assistant who deals with not only recruitment coordination but hitters and infielders too. Kyle Heeter enters his first season as a strengthening and conditioning coach. Alongside those two are Kyle Liedtky, Luke Gaboury [former player] and Jeff Buysse [father of Coach Buysse] who are all volunteer assistants.
“Focusing your energy on things you can control,” is an everyday motto that Buysse likes to instill in his players. Not worrying about outside forces, weather or an umpire’s call, but instead the attitudes and things they can control on a daily basis is the name of their game.
When trying to differentiate this season from the last few, Coach Buysse expressed that what happened in the past has no relevance to this team. It is a new coaching staff and a new year, so Buysse wants to bring out the “ultra-positive attitude and environment to everything we do,” he said. With his players, he already sees this new mindset paying off as they continue to condition and prepare for a big season.
This year, Buysse will count on his five seniors— Paul Geha, Zack Lazenby, Blake Logsdon, Nick Kellams and Zane Gonzalez—to set the tone of practice and lead by example, he said, instead of appointing captains.
When determining what the ‘end goal’ is for the team, Buysse expressed that they do not want to focus on the goals such as wins or losses, stats, etc. Instead, he intends to stick with their motto of “focusing on things we can control,” go one pitch at a time, base by base. Everyone’s goal is to make it to conference play at the end of the season, but to him that is “a big picture play.” At the end of the year, “if we stick to [those goals], we can get those wins and stats, regardless if we set them or not.” And this team plans on going into their season with high energy, positive attitudes and the passion to play every minute of every inning.