By STEVE KRAH
Tyler Rubasky, who hails from Pennsylvania, has returned to Indiana to coach college baseball.
Rubasky, a 2012 graduate of Hazleton (Pa.) Area High School, played at catcher for Cougars head coach Gino Cara.
“He made a huge impact on me,” says Rubasky. “I went home for Christmas break. My first stop was to see my dad (Brian Rubasky) at his office. My second stop was to see Coach Cara in his office.”
“He was there with constant encouragement and trying to do right by me and the team,” says Rubasky of Cara, who was a standout baseball player at Lafayette University. “He encouraged me to keep pursuing the dream and keep chasing the game.”
At NCAA Division III Waynesburg (Pa.) University, Rubasky played for Yellow Jackets head coach Mike Humiston, worked with pitching coach Perry Cunningham (who is now head coach) and also was an assistant coach.
“Coach Hum gave me a shot,” says Rubasky. “I’m not a huge guy for a catcher. I was always overlooked for my size. He saw something in me.
“Perry and I have an awesome relationship. He went to Davis & Elkins (as a student/athlete). That was kind of a cool full circle moment.”
Rubasky started college on a different path.
“I was going to be a teacher and then I found the Athletic Training (major),” says Rubasky. “That wasn’t what I found passion in.
“I can still teach through coaching and can still be around baseball which I love.
“I guess I’m pretty fortunate.”
Rubasky, who earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Exercise Science, Wellness and Physiology at Waynesburg (2016) and a Masters of Science degree in Coaching and Sport Education at West Virginia University (2018), was charge of catchers and outfielders and assisted with hitters at D-III Franklin (Ind.) College for Grizzlies head coach Lance Marshall.
During the 2019 season and through August 2020, Rubasky led catchers, outfielders and hitters at D-II Davis & Elkins (W.Va.) College in 2021 and 2022. The Senators head coach was Tim Miller.
In late August 2022, Rubasky was hired as an assistant at D-III Trine University in Angola, Ind. Greg Perschke is entering his 22nd season as Thunder head coach in 2023.
“I really like Indiana,” says Rubasky. “It’s a great opportunity for me to be a full-time assistant which is rare at our level. Across baseball sometimes it’s rare.
“Coach Marshall is very close to my heart. Coach Perschke has been there long enough that he must have something going on and Trine is a great place to be — from an overall university standpoint with their academics and the athletics being a priority.”
Rubasky oversees hitters and catchers at Trine while sharing in recruiting duties with Perschke.
“Recruiting is a huge piece at any college level, especially at our level,” says Rubasky. “We’re going to do our part for that.”
Rubasky has also coached at the youth baseball level. He was head coach for 14U Pony League World Series host team, Indiana Elite 16U and Pittsburgh Outlaws 14U.
The Transfer Portal continues to play a major part in college sports, but it’s not quite as prevalent at the D-III level where there are no athletic scholarships.
Players do transfer to places like Trine for reasons such as a major or masters degree or getting closer to home. Occasionally, there might be a bounce-back from NCAA D-I or D-II.
Rubasky says the basic different between D-III and D-II is contact/development time between players and coaches.
He says D-II players and coaches can work together eight hours a week from the first day of school in the fall until just before finals in the spring.
D-III teams are allowed four weeks of practice in the fall. Players are then given a set of recommendations to work until the period leading up to the season opener. For Trine in 2023 that is Feb. 25 at Anderson (Ind.) University.