North Iowa Area Community College Baseball
Hometown: Burnsville, Minnesota
Education: Northern Iowa Area Community College, Buena Vista University
Email: schlesha [at] niacc.edu
The moment you first realized that you might like to make coaching part of your career.
The light sparked when one of my summer ball coaches asked me to come home and assist him with a Junior Legion team in Burnsville, Minnesota after my freshman year of college. That opportunity made me realize that coaching is something that I could enjoy doing. I was now able to see things now as a player that I couldn’t before, and it made me realize that coaches play a big role in the development of those players.
After a shoulder injury my sophomore year at North Iowa Area Community College (NJCAA), an opportunity presented itself to help out with the coaching staff. Travis Hergert, the first year head coach at NIACC, asked me to join as a student assistant. I had already learned so much from him and Pete Lauritson, the hitting coach at the time, that I couldn’t pass up leaching onto those two for knowledge. I was pretty much the gopher of the staff. I’d help out in any possible way, and assist with the catchers when needed.
That spring, the program won its first regional, district, and made its first NJCAA D II World Series appearance. After learning as much as I did that 2013 season from two guys that I believe to be two of the best coaches in the nation, there was no getting me to turn back. I fell in love with learning and wanted to become really good at one thing. This is my 6th season on staff here at NIACC.
Outside of mentors, talk about one way you’ve learned some aspect of coaching.
The biggest one I would say is podcasts. There are tons of resources out there to learn from, but these are one of my favorites. Their convenient when sitting in the office or when logging windshield time when out recruiting or traveling. I can just pop one on and take in the “audio gold” (had to steal that one from Sheets). Obvious favorites include Top Coach, ABCA Calls from the Clubhouse, Ahead of the Curve, and TED talks. I have learned endless amounts of information from the people that go on and share their knowledge. I definitely recommend it to those out there seeking more information.
What is your favorite memory from a coaching conference or clinic?
I have some great memories from coaching clinics like the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Clinic and the ABCA. But being able to present this year in Indianapolis on the Expo Theater stage at the ABCA has taken over as my favorite memory as a coach so far. I couldn’t be more thankful to Jason Ochart and the guys at Driveline for giving me the opportunity to share the stage with them, Dan Heefner, Dillon Lawson, and Jeff Albert. Some A-list guys in the coaching world, and even better people.
Best career or work advice you ever received.
I think the best advice I have ever heard was to become really good at one thing. If you’re going to do something, I think trying to be one of the best at doing it and one of the most knowledgeable is what makes it fun. Our job is to provide for our players, and being able to pass on that information is detrimental for their growth and development. I remind myself that I am a servant to those guys that show up every day, and this advice has made me realize that.
Your dream lunch date. One coach. Any sport. Any level. Living or dead. Who is it?
This one was tough. There are a lot of people I would love to sit down with. I think I’m flipping the bill for lunch if it meant hanging out with Terry Francona. I can only imagine the endless stories and knowledge that a guy like that has. Just let me know when you’re free Tito, I know an unbelievable steakhouse in Mason City, IA. Or I will hop on a plane to Cleveland, I’m pretty flexible.