In his eighth season as head coach of McNicholas Varsity Baseball, John Christmann earned win number 100 as his team locked up an 11-1 victory over GCL opponent Purcell Marian on April 3. Senior pitcher TJ Schimpf tossed his second complete game and was backed up by strong run support ensuring the win.
Once the game ended and postgame handshakes were complete, Schimpf and senior outfielder Noah Robb skipped the team’s standard jog to the center field fence prior to the postgame talk and snuck into the dugout, hiding there until Christmann passed on his way to left field. As soon as the coaches turned their backs to face the rest of the team, Robb and Stein sprang into action and proceeded to douse the longtime head coach with a water bath from the Gatorade cooler. “I didn’t even notice they weren’t running with us so I was completely baffled by that,” Christmann said.
Throughout his 8 years with the Rockets, many players and coaches have come and gone, but there has remained one constant: Assistant Coach Curt Moenter. Prior to arriving on the scene at McNicholas, Christmann was the bench coach for the Florence Freedom and Moenter was their pitching coach. Christmann said, “Curt was still in town after I got the McNick job so I called him up and said ‘Hey, you want to coach high school with me? He said, ‘sure.’”
Christmann’s most memorable season of coaching the Rockets was with the Senior Class of 2016. “They won Districts both years… Even though we had one bad game that ’16 season, it happened to be in the Regionals.” That season McNicholas took the field at Great American Ballpark and defeated Elder. “It was a fun team… That win against Elder at Great American was the number one thing,” Christmann said.
When asked about his goals for this season and the rest of his tenure at McNicholas, Christmann said, “I really want to beat the teams we are supposed to beat. I want every player to come out of here enjoying their time, but I also want them to be smart baseball players. I harp on the players all the time about being smart players… but it’s also baseball so I want guys on the team to have fun, play hard and win, but have fun.”
Christmann was also presented with cookie cake and balloons from the parents to celebrate the milestone win. He said, “I’ve never been a guy that wants personal things. It’s not about me; it’s about the program and the players, but it was really nice.”