The Lake Mills board approved the hiring of the Waldorf assistant coach during their February meeting.
Lake Mills has tabbed a more-than-qualified candidate to take over their baseball coaching position. A position vacated by former Lake Mills prep Chris Throne, who stepped down to spend more time with his young children.
Throne and Schuermann have glaring similarities. Along with Lake Mills and ROWVA – the school Casey attended – similar in size, they both graduated in 2010 and were standouts in their respected schools’ athletic programs.
Casey moved to Victoria, Illinois, just 50 miles south of Bettendorf, Iowa, before his junior year to attend ROWVA – Rio, Onedia, Wataga, Victoria, and Atlona. Schuermann immediately impacted the Tigers as a standout pitcher and hitter. He helped lead them to the regional championship and a 21-8 record as a junior. His senior year, they made another big run, past the regional title and making it to the sectional championship, just two games away from the state tournament, before falling to traditional powerhouse Routt Catholic. Before his junior year, Schuermann attended Alexis United, where he was on the roster but didn’t crack the lineup. With a bit of push from a coach Casey will never forget, he blossomed into a good high school player that went onto the college game.
During his junior and senior years, John Clark was Schuermann’s high school coach at ROWVA. Clark passed in 2015, and emotionally, he says it’s because of coach John Clark and his son, coach James Clark, that he is where he is today.
The day before the first game in 2009, assuming he wasn’t even going to play, Schuermann was surprised when coach John Clark came to him and told him he was the team’s starting pitcher for opening day and battering third in the lineup, “It blew my mind, I was just like coach give me an opportunity to play, and now he’s telling me I’m (batting third in the lineup) and pitching,” Schuermann said. “Are you kidding me” he continued by saying. Schuermann stated he lacked confidence in his ability, and that’s what coach John and James Clark did – they believed in him and gave him his chance to prove it. Not only did Schuermann perform his junior year – he was selected first-team all-conference. Now, Schuermann gets his chance at the high school coaching ranks to impact kids the way coach Clark did on him.
Following his time at ROWVA, Schuermann started playing college baseball at Spoon River College for two years before making his debut in North Iowa as a junior, signing with Waldorf College and then coach Ryan Flickinger before the 2012-2013 season. Flickinger’s assistant coach was now head Waldorf coach Joe Tautges, who brought Schuermann onto the staff as a student assistant following his graduation from Waldorf in 2014 in Tautges’ first year after taking over for Flickinger.
Schuermann’s Waldorf crossroads didn’t stop there. In the summer of 2019, Schuermannn was an assistant coach with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League, a team managed by the current Waldorf athletic director, Chad Gassman.
His coaching resume is unmatched compared to most taking over a high school program. Schuermann has also spent time as the hitting coach for the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaska Baseball League, two summers as the hitting coach for the Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwood League, an assistant coach at Northland College, spent a summer with the North Fork Ospreys of the Hamptons Collegiate League as a pitching coach, and in 2016 was named head coach of the Crown Point Sharks of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate League. He rejoined Waldorf’s coaching staff before the 2016-2017 season as an assistant coach for Tautges, where he has been during the spring ever since.
He’ll take over a Lake Mills program that went 9-16 last year and finished tied for fifth in the conference a year removed from winning a conference title and hadn’t had a losing season since 2011-2012. Schuermann believes that effort, attitude, and energy will get the program back to prime form, “Showing up every day ready to work.” “Going out and competing, that’s a staple of who I am and one of any program I’ve ever been a part of. “It’s not the talent that’s going to win at the high school level. We just want to be that team nobody wants to play,” Schuermann stated about his expectations.
The Bulldogs return much of their lineup; they lost just three everyday batters to graduation. But on the flip side, they lost a bulk of their pitching. The Bulldogs pitched 151, and 2/3 innings, 96 of those innings were pitched by last year’s seniors. Though developing pitchers is in the wheelhouse of Schuermann, who currently coaches pitching at Waldorf, “It going to be an opportunity to go out there and grow; it’s not where we are at day one, it’s where will we be at the end of the season, he said about his young pitching staff. Just AJ Ramaker returns with more than 20 innings pitched last year. He went 2-3 with a 4.59 ERA while walking 27 and striking out 27.
The season will start slow for the Bulldogs. With the IHSAA and IGHSAU implementing a mandatory family week at the end of the summer, the baseball season was moved up one week to allow it to conclude before the ‘dead week.’ Practice is set to start just six days from today, May 2nd. Waldorf’s regular season will be done by then, but the postseason conference tournament will take place May 6th through 9th, with Waldorf’s season only continuing from there if they win it all. Schuermann feels it’s essential for the track athletes, golf athletes, and those that don’t participate in spring sports to all be together. So they will practice in the morning in the early going and focus on the comradery. “Coach (Jim) Boehmer did a great job, and we could’ve scheduled games early but pushed them back as late as we could,” said Schuermann. Lake Mills is posed for a late postseason for both track and golf athletes, and this allows them to focus on state championships in spring sports before taking to the diamond.
Schuermann closed by saying Lake Mills fans can expect a team that will work hard every pitch and runs. Not necessarily stealing bases, but running hits out – and doing the little things whether they are up ten or down ten. “I’m just really thankful for the opportunity to build these relationships with the players. I want to help develop these guys into people”, said Schuermann before thanking all the guys that have and will continue to support him.
Lake Mills is scheduled to open the season against West Hancock on May 23rd in Britt.