By STEVE KRAH
Paul Quinzer instructs students about rocks and athletes about playing hard.
Quinzer is a teacher of earth space science, integrated chemistry and physics at Mount Vernon (Ind.) High School.
He is also the head baseball coach at the Posey County school, a position he has held since the 2002 season.
“My philosophy is to work hard and play hard,” says Quinzer. “When we practice I’m always on them about working hard. If they work hard, we’ll have fun.
“We set goals and we try to achieve those goals. I want to get the boys into some kind of work ethic, not only for baseball but later in life.”
Quinzer is a 1982 graduate of Castle High School in Newburgh, Ind., where he was a four-sport athlete (baseball, track, basketball and football).
His baseball coach was Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Famer Al Rabe.
“He believed in what I could do,” says Quinzer of Rabe. “He allowed let me try new things. He did the best he could to help me learn how to pitch.”
Quinzer played in the 1986 College World Series with Indiana State University and graduated that year with a geology degree.
ISU Hall of Famer Bob Warn was the Sycamores head coach when Quinzer was playing in Terre Haute.
“He really recruited me hard,” says Quinzer of Warn. “He made me feel like he really wanted me.”
Right-hander Quinzer was selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft — 1982 by the Montreal Expos (12th round) and 1986 by the San Diego Padres (10th round). His professional playing career went until 1990 when he played at Triple-A Las Vegas.
When he was done playing, Quinzer looked for a job in geology, wound up getting his teaching license and began at Mount Vernon in the fall of 1993. The first of eight seasons as an assistant to Dave Bell came in the spring of 1994. Bell led the Wildcats for 22 years for his retirement.
Mount Vernon (enrollment around 610) is a member of the Big Eight Conference (with Boonville, Jasper, Mount Carmel of Illinois, Princeton Community, Vincennes Lincoln and Washington).
Each team plays one another once to determine the conference champion.
“We are spread out big time,” says Quinzer. “The closest conference team — Boonville or Princeton — is an hour drive.
“We drive a lot at our school.”
The Wildcats have won the Big Eight seven times since Quinzer has been head coach.
Non-conference opponents include Carmi White County (Ill.), Castle, Evansville Central, Evansville Mater Dei, Evansville Memorial, Evansville North, Evansville Reitz, Gibson Southern, Heritage Hills, Henderson County (Ky.), Linton-Stockton, North Posey, Tecumseh and Webster County (Ky.).
This year will mark the first in a dozen that Mount Vernon does not play in the Braves Bash at Terre Haute South Vigo. The Wildcats will go to Webster County during spring break. Quinzer says he hopes the team can go to Nashville, Tenn., during break in the future.
The Wildcats are part of an IHSAA Class 3A sectional grouping with Boonville, Evansville Bosse, Evansville Memorial and Heritage Hills. Mount Vernon has won 17 sectional crowns (five with Quinzer on the MV coaching staff and four with him as head coach) — the last in 2015.
Quinzer has his largest coaching staff to date with Nathan Groeninger, John Schelhorn, Mark Wezet and Ron Upshaw. Wezet is the pitching coach.
Former assistant Kevin Krizan, who played at the University of Evansville, was with Quinzer for 15 years.
Krizan stepped away a few years ago to follow his sons — senior right-hander Austin Krizan and sophomore center fielder Bryce Krizan — on the diamond at the University of Southern Indiana.
Other recent Mount Vernon graduates that moved on to college baseball are Drake McNamara (USI), Clay Ford (Oakland City University), Troy Paris (Kentucky Wesleyan College) and Walker Paris (Vincennes University).
Two other alums — Cody Mobley and catcher Logan Brown — are playing pro ball. Mobley was selected in the eighth round of the 2015 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Seattle Mariners and Brown was chosen in the 35th round of the 2018 draft by the Atlanta Braves.
MV graduates also taken in the draft include catcher Ryan Spilman (Cleveland Indians, 15th round in 2003), left-hander Bryan Rueger (New York Yankees, 20th round in 2005) and right-hander Matt Huff (San Diego Padres, 27th round in 2006).
Mount Vernon plans to field three teams in 2019 — varsity, junior varsity and freshmen/C-team.
“We want to get as many games as possible for those younger kids,” says Quinzer. “The more games they can play, the better they’re going to be.”
A year ago, there were 38 players in the program. There are 30 this year, including 12 freshmen. Half that number are expected to play for the varsity.
The Wildcats play at Athletic Park. The on-campus field features a center field fence that is 417 feet from home plate.
“Since we went to the BBCORs, we don’t hit too many home runs,” says Quinzer.
Over the years, the facility has added new backstop — netting with bricks at the bottom. The next project is batting cages with turf.
“It’s a a little of this and little of that,” says Quinzer.
Paul and Cindy Quinzer have three children. Alexandria Quinzer is a senior nursing student at USI. Savannah Quinzer is a sophomore education major at USI. Bronson Quinzer is a junior shortstop at Mount Vernon. He hit .405 as a sophomore.
Paul Quinzer is head baseball coach at Mount Vernon (Ind.) High School.
Paul Quinzer is a teacher of earth space science, integrated chemistry and physics and head baseball coach at Mount Vernon (Ind.) High School.