By PERRY HUNTER
There is a house in Clark County that holds 505 wins, 17 conferences championships, 10 sectional titles and one regional title.
What coach possibly has done all of this? It isn’t one coach. It is Jeff and wife Schroeder — who are married and live in the same household — the baseball and softball coaches at Henryville High School.
The baseball program at HHS was pretty good before Jeff Schroeder took over the reigns with Terry Rademacher having some pretty good teams in the 1980’s. However, Coach Schroeder’s first season ... not so good. He went winless. It has become almost comical, because since then, he has built one of the best baseball programs in the area.
His 21 year tenure at Henryville and Silver Creek going into this week has produced 371 wins, 10 conference championships and six sectional titles. What many people don’t understand is when it comes to coaching baseball, a school is one coaching change away from being pretty good to not being very good at all.
Jeff Schroeder has been courted by bigger schools, but he has had an understanding that where he was and what he built was as good as it gets, no matter school size. His longevity and consistency have accounted for Henryville baseball to be synonymous with competitive and winning baseball.
Many coaches have come into the area — especially in the Southern Athletic Conference — and been told if they want to win, they must beat Jeff Schroeder and Henryville.
I can’t think of any better compliment. When he decides to step down as the baseball coach at Henryville — and who knows when that might be — he will leave the program better off than when he inherited it, influenced numerous young men in a positive manner and brought statewide respect to the baseball program from the little town in southeast Indiana.
The softball program at HHS before Coach Jenny Schroeder was not bad in the 1990’s winning one single-class sectional title at Charlestown, but it disappeared for a few years — as in didn’t exist — and after being resurrected, started the climb to success.
When Jenny Schroeder took over and the arrival of Amanda Embry, that climb became a quick, steep incline. Not only was Embry a great softball player, the classes above her and with her were as good as any that have come through Henryville.
With the expert guidance of Schroeder, Henryville softball has now become respected in the area and throughout the state. In seven years, Schroeder has won 134 games, seven conference championships, four sectional championships and one regional title.
I will argue that there hasn’t been a better softball program in the Clark/Floyd county area during her tenure as coach. As good as, maybe, but none better. Jenny Schroeder is respected by many of her peers in the coaching profession, helping to get HHS softball players recognition it has never enjoyed before. Again, when she decides to step down, the softball program will be in much better shape than when she inherited it.
Coaching spring sports has its unique challenges. You try to coach and discipline a team and high school kids at the end of the school year. If you have ever taught, you know that as the year winds down, many students lose the motivation to be awake, much less be motivated for excellence. What these two coaches have done is exceptional, even if they weren’t married.
What’s more is that these two are not only great coaches, but even better teachers. They are looked to by the staff and students as leaders in the building. I have been around many teachers in my life and I will put their English/literature and calculus teaching skills up against anyone.
Former students come back and thank them for what they did for them as coaches and also as teachers. They have the personalites that students in today’s world enjoy being around, and in their class, the students are learning skills beyond what the state standards mandate.
With all of that said, as coaches and teachers, the only thing missing from the resumes of these two is a state final appearance, and if they both stay in their respective sports long enough, it will happen.
I have no doubt.