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In their first season on the Central Michigan University campus, three coaches with significant SNC diamond credibility led the Chippewas to the NCAA Division I tournament. Jordan Bischel ’03 is head coach.

SNC Trio Leads the Way for Central Michigan Baseball

It took less than a year for the winning ways of St. Norbert College to rub off on another college baseball program.

In their first season on campus, three coaches with significant SNC diamond credibility led Central Michigan University to the NCAA Division I tournament. CMU were finally overcome by the University of Miami in a regional semifinal May 31. This was the Chippewas’ first NCAA tournament berth since 1995.

CMU head coach Jordan Bischel ’03 was a star pitcher and first baseman for the Green Knights 2000-03, earning all-Midwest Conference honors for his play and academic skills. He was also an SNC assistant coach for three years.

Assistant coach Tony Jandron ’11 played every position except catcher for St. Norbert and was a Division III All-American player in 2010, when he finished with an astounding batting average of .511. He was a four-time all-Midwest Conference player and helped the Green Knights to four consecutive league championships.

Volunteer assistant coach Tom Winske was SNC’s head coach for 20 years, resigning in July 2018 to join his former players in Mount Pleasant, Mich. A Green Bay native and graduate of De Pere’s Abbot Pennings High School, Winske left SNC as the most successful coach in Midwest Conference history, with four league championships and five berths in the NCAA Division III postseason tournament. His teams compiled a win-loss-tie record of 444-287-1.

Together, the SNC trio and fellow assistant coach Kyle Schroeder guided Central Michigan to the Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament championships and an NCAA tourney spot. The Chippewas entered the NCAA tourney field with 18 consecutive wins and a 46-12 record. Eight players earned Academic All-Mid-American Conference for baseball, and junior Zach Kohn was drafted by the New York Yankees.

Bischel was SNC’s pitching coach during Jandron’s first three years, until Winske suggested that he broaden his coaching horizons.

“He just felt like I had a chance to really do it for a career,” Bischel says, “and he just said, ‘You’ve got to see what’s out there. You can always come back this way.’ … I can’t thank him enough, obviously.”

Bischel’s first head coaching job was at Midland University for two highly successful years (74-45 record), followed by four seasons at Northwood University, where his teams had a 137-76 record and a spot in the 2017 NCAA Division II tournament, the first in school history. Jandron was an assistant for Bischel at Midland.

“We had some success in my first two stops, and then in the last few years, Tom would kind of joke, ‘Hey, if you get a Division I job, I’m going to retire from teaching and I’m going to come help you out,’ ” Bischel recalls.

In the summer of 2018, Winske left his SNC coaching post and his teaching position in the Green Bay Area School District to join Bischel at the Division I level.

“I don't know if I would have had the guts to make that move, but I give him a lot of credit,” Bischel says. “It’s incredibly invaluable to have him.”

“I really enjoyed my time at St. Norbert and had a lot of great years there,” Winske says. “But we [Winske and Bischel] talked pretty much every day. … He offered me the job, and I thought it was a great opportunity.”

Bischel’s CMU assistants are interchangeable by design, able to move from pitching – Bischel’s strong suit – to hitting, outfield play to infield play, bunting and baserunning to catching.

“[Bischel] was pretty progressive in his thinking because he knew I had a lot of experience and could really help with the team,” Winske says. “We all have a pretty diverse background in baseball so we can kind of bounce back and forth between positions when needed.”

“We all believe in the message and what we’re trying to do,” Jandron says. “I just have a ton of respect for those guys [Bischel and Winske] and their knowledge of the game.”

July 30, 2019