By Greg Gielczyk  

CUSTER — Obviously, the numbers show how successful he was on the athletic field.  

But there was more to longtime Mason County Eastern baseball coach Ted Schoenherr than the wins — more than 275 in his 29 years at the helm, including 19 league championships, 14 district titles and two regional crowns.  

Schoenherr passed away Aug. 20, 2023, at the age of 75.

“More importantly, he reached a lot of kids,” said current MCE athletic director Paul Schoup. “He had a great sense of humor, and the kids worked for him. They loved him, and he treated them well. They respected him as a coach and performed for him the same way.  

“I was at the visitation and multi generations of former athletes of all ages, those that coached with him and those who were around him were there. I think that says a lot for who Ted was.”

Ted Schoenherr

Schoenherr, a 1966 graduate of MCE, was inducted into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1997. He retired from teaching and coaching in 2000.  

Also an educator in the school system, Schoenherr had daily contact with his athletes in the classroom and never failed to deliver a ready smile and conversation.  

Dan Hanson, who took over the program when Schoenherr retired, said that he was an old school coach.  

“The ability to go that long and be successful, over and over again with the size of the teams, to keep the kids coming back I think speaks pretty highly of what he was, able to do, and what type of person he was,” added Hanson, who coached the team for 13 years.

Despite his coaching longevity, Schoenherr never lost touch with the students who came out every spring and toiled long hours to prepare for each season.  

“He related to kids, (and) they wanted to play for him, and that is a great attribute of a coach,” Hanson added. “Over the years, kids still wanted to be a part of the team. A lot of that comes down to Ted as a coach, and the type of person that he was. He had an extremely impressive run of success.”  

Schoenherr not only coached, but was the head groundskeeper for both the baseball and softball fields, taking great pride in keeping them in prime condition.  

Ted Schoenherr

It meant a lot of work after hours, weekends and summers … and he continued to do it even after he retired.  

Grant Griswold, an educator and principal at Eastern, was Schoenherr’s assistant for all of his 29 years coaching the baseball team.  

Having played the game himself, Schoenherr took a lot of pride in his teams playing well and giving the full effort.  

But he built a rapport with his players that turned into a very real adoration for the coach in return. It became more than just coach and players.  

“Often at a game you’d look in the stands and see anywhere from five to 10 of his former players watching,” said Griswold. “They were very loyal to him.  

“He used pretty much the same signs all 29 years and got away with it. We coached together for so long, pretty much what we wanted to do was the same thing.”  

Griswold said that Schoenherr primarily worked with the pitchers and hitters, while he focused on the fielding.  

“He was very good at using his players where they could be successful,” Griswold added. “He always wanted to represent the school well and have good sportsmanship from his team. And, of course, he wanted his team to play hard. Ahead or behind, play the whole game like it should be played. No letdowns.”  

Schoenherr welcomed Griswold’s input on what he thought would be the best pitching matchup.  

“Generally speaking, he and I agreed on that,” Griswold said. “He was very good on figuring that out. A lot of years we had a 12-man roster, so making out starting lineups wasn’t difficult, and those were 12 players from ninth to 12th grade. I coached first and he coached third. He gave the signs from third base. My job was to get them to turn left and get them down to second base. He took over from there.  

“Sometimes it worked better than others.”  

Both were involved in fastpitch softball for a long time and had a similar background in the sport.  

It made for a smooth coaching combo.  

While he only coached with Schoenherr for one season, Hanson said he benefited immensely from the discussions the two had during the season.  

“I definitely cherished the opportunity I had to coach with Ted. Just a ton of great experiences, and the one-liner comments he could throw out. We had a great time together,” Hanson said.  

“We’d spend hours discussing how to construct a lineup and figure out where certain players fit out on the field.”  

Former athletic director and boys’ basketball coach Jim Jackoviak spent a lot of time outside of school as a hunting and fishing buddy of Schoenherr.  

He said that Schoenherr, also the junior varsity basketball coach, developed good citizens in addition to successful ball players.  

“I never had any trouble with any of Ted’s kids,” Jackoviak said. “He taught them to be better individuals. But, they also won plenty of games on the field.  

“That’s not easy to accomplish. But I think the kids didn’t want to disappoint Ted, either on or off the field.”  

A great man who touched a lot of lives, Schoenherr will be missed.