By STEVE KRAH
Corey Van Skyock, who was officially named head baseball coach at Centerville (Ind.) Senior High School Sept. 28, was an assistant to John Cate at Richmond back in the early 1990’s.
Cate went into the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1997 and the RHS Coaches Hall of Fame in 2018. His baseball teams won 285 games, 12 sectionals and eight regionals and made a pair of Final Four appearances during two different stints from 1986-2008.
“Most of my coaching styles and beliefs come from Coach Cate,” says Van Skyock, who held his first team call-out meeting Sept. 30. “Work hard. Period. Prepare.
“The more that you can prepare and work hard the simpler games become.”
Cate also taught his players about field maintenance and Van Skyock plans to pass those lessons along at Centerville.
Van Skyock went from Richmond to a three-year stint as New Castle head coach. Two of his Trojans — Wes Ireton (Miami of Ohio) and Ben Smith (Indiana State) — went on to pitch at the NCAA Division I level.
Van Skyock, who earned a Secondary Education/English at Indiana University in Bloomington, spent 19 years as a teacher and/or administrator.
Later on, he coached at the youth and travel levels.
Corey and wife Christy Van Skyock — a financial services/insurance sales veteran — have three sons — Oran, Gaven and Arian. Oran Van Skyock (Class of the 2019) and Gaven Van Skyock (Class of 2021) played baseball at Centerville. Arian Van Skyock (Class of 2026) is planning to take the diamond for the Bulldogs.
Centerville — led for 10 seasons by Tracey Crull — is coming off a 2022 season in which the Bulldogs were 21-6 and IHSAA Class 2A state runners-up. Illiana Christian beat Centerville in the championship game.
Eight of the players playing for the Bulldogs that day were seniors — Logan Drook, Kasen Duncan, Devin Frazier, Jamari Pamplin, Javontae Pamplin, Bryce Robertson, Keegan Schlotterbeck and Zach Thompson.
Juniors included Collin Clark, Jacob Crowe and Alex Wandersee plus sophomores Kollyn Peed and Colton Rinehart.
Centerville (enrollment around 550) is a member of the Tri-Eastern Conference (with Cambridge City Lincoln, Hagerstown, Knightstown, Northeastern, Tri, Union City, Union County and Winchester).
The Bulldogs were part of an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping in 2022 with Hagerstown, Northeastern, Shenandoah and Union County. Including 2021 and 2022, Centerville has won nine sectional titles.
Van Skyock says Wandersee is committed to Vincennes (Ind.) University and Clark and Crowe are college baseball hopefuls.
He plans to meet with parents and players to ask the question “what does your future entail and how can I help you get there?”
There will be work, but enjoyment is also the goal.
“You may not play baseball in college, but you’ve got to be able to look back and say ‘gosh, that was fun!,” says Van Skyock.
As a newly-minted head coach, Van Skyock has to have his assistant coaches approved before announcing his staff.
He has also reached out to the leadership at Centerville Youth League, which serves as a feeder system to his program. He helped coach a team with his youngest son this past season.
Van Skyock is a 1987 graduate of Union City (Ind.) Junior/Senior High School, where he played baseball for four years.
Kevin Lehman was the Indians head coach.
By throwing strikeouts and eliminating errors, Lehman saw the key to diamond success.
“The game’s a lot of simpler than people want to make it,” says Van Skyock. “Eliminate advantages that you give to the opponent and it makes the game a lot simpler.”