Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Standing in the Hall of Fame

Q&A with baseball head coach John Vodenlich
American+Baseball+Coaches+Association+Hall+of+Fame+Inductee+John+Vodenlich+walks+back+to+the+Warhawk+dugout+after+his+701st+win.+
American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee John Vodenlich walks back to the Warhawk dugout after his 701st win.

To say baseball head coach John Vodenlich’s coaching career has been successful is an understatement of his twenty-two years of coaching between Edgewood College and UW-Whitewater. In his career he has compiled a record of 712-257-1 (.734) as a head coach. With this, he has been honored with an induction into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Vodenlich enters his 21st season at the helm of the Warhawks. Vodenlich took over the Whitewater program in 2000. Under Vodenlich, the Warhawks have advanced to the NCAA Division III College World Series six times among their 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, capturing national titles in 2005 and 2014 and earning their skipper ABCA National Coach of the Year both years. His teams have won 14 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships, with Vodenlich earning WIAC Coach of the Year honors ten times.

A six-time ABCA Regional Coach of the Year, Vodenlich has been honored three times as the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association (WBCA) College Coach of the Year and was named the 2005 WBCA Man of the Year. In 2015, Vodenlich became the youngest inductee into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Racine County Sports Hall of Fame in 2019 and was inducted into the Wisconsin-Whitewater Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 as a former student-athlete.

Q: What has been your experience coaching so far?

A: In my career, I never thought I could make a living doing this and it was because at the time there were not a lot of openings and opportunities so it was really hard. There were plenty of volunteer coaches there were a lot of part-time coaches doing this. I got a big break early in my career. I got the offer to go to Edgewood College and I was the baseball coach and several other things. It was going really well but then Coach Miller called me and asked if I would consider coming back to my alma mater and that was kind of the moment in time everything fell in place.

Q: What are some moments in your career that stand out?

A: Coming back as an assistant coach at the time. We had not won a conference title since 1965 when I came back in 1999. The first major transfer for five years and so you know we have a whole accolade that really put us on the map that we hadn’t done since 1965 was win the conference title and then a couple years later we got to the College World Series. Eventually winning that national championship, so the five years went from winning the conference title for the first time in over 30 years then going to the College World Series which hadn’t happened since 1989 and then achieving something that has never happened and that happened in the first six years. I guess there’s a lot of moments that stick out but that’s the run I remember the most.

Q: How have you adapted to keep the team competitive over the years?

A: The cool thing is that I felt like my natural progression coach is typically as you get older you get a little wiser. You also get a little calmer and deal with better management style I think much better too, today’s player and you know things have changed. I think players are coming better prepared and motivated. They’re much more articulate so having that communication has gone hand-in-hand with really what  I believe is a natural maturity for most coaches.

Q: What are some of the goals that you still have?

A: I want to continue to build a competitive roster where we can continue to compete at a high level and contend for conference and national championships. Even with achieving everything I have there is still the drive to win and win another national championship.

 

Vodenlich still remains focused on this upcoming season and the goals he and his team have. The Warhawks will begin their seasons ranked 21st in the country and will open their season against Trinity University (Texas) Feb. 29.

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About the Contributor
Dan Emary, Men's Sports Editor

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