By STEVE KRAH
There are many educators in the family of J.J. DuBois.
So even though his career path started out toward business administration, he found himself transitioning toward the classroom.
Around athletics throughout his life, DuBois also felt the full of coaching and added that professional role.
DuBois, who teaches business at Goshen (Ind.) High School, now finds himself as the RedHawks head baseball coach. His hiring was approved this week.
“I truly can’t wait to get started,” says DuBois, 28. “(Former Goshen head coach) Josh (Keister) made unbelievable strides in a short time.
“I want to keep the momentum going.”
While J.J. says the fast pace of basketball got much of his attention growing up, he came to enjoy the strategy and nuances of baseball. He appreciates the life lessons that it can help impart.
“It teaches you how to bounce back from failure,” says DuBois. “You get humbled real quick in baseball.
“Coaching — in any sport — can make a huge impact on kids.”
While roles could change, J.J. DuBois says he expects to have the same men return to coach Goshen baseball in 2018-19, including Aaron Keister, Clay Norris, Troy Pickard, Tracy Farmwald, Chad Collins and Daniel Liechty.
Aaron Keister was the RedHawks pitching coach and Norris a varsity assistant in 2018. Pickard helped DuBois at the junior varsity level. Liechty served as elementary coordinator and a liaison to Goshen Little League.
After years at Rogers Park, the JV was moved to the Little League. DuBois says he wants to conduct camps for Goshen’s youth players.
The varsity plays on Phend Field, located across U.S. 33 from Goshen High School.
Goshen is part of the Northern Lakes Conference (along with Concord, Elkhart Memorial, Northridge, NorthWood, Plymouth, Warsaw and Wawasee).
DuBois coached junior varsity baseball at Goshen the past two seasons and now gets to educate young people in his first job as a head coach.
“There’s nothing better than helping kids find out what they want to pursue and get the most out of them as an athlete and turn that into some wins,” says DuBois, who played baseball and tennis for four years and basketball for one at Jimtown High School in Elkhart, Ind., graduating in 2008.
DuBois was a first baseman and pitcher on the diamond for coach Mike Stout and a singles player on the court for coach Steve Fledderman.
“Coach Stout was the most calm anybody could ever ask for,” says DuBois of Stout, who spent in 25 seasons leading the Jimmies. “He never got in your face and screamed at you. I was never afraid to make a mistake. All he did was instill confidence in guys.
“He never let his emotions get the best of him. He respected you as a player and a person and cared for every single guy. He got a lot out of us because he let us be ourselves.”
Jimtown won a sectional baseball title when DuBois was a junior (2007) and were very good his senior year.
DuBois credits Fledderman for instilling discipline and self control. There was a certain way to act and “Fled” insisted upon it or there would be extra running or push-ups.
“In tennis, you have to have self control,” says DuBois. “I could not lose my mind out on the court.”
DuBois continued to learn about the X’s and O’s of baseball in four seasons (concluding with graduation in 2012) as a pitcher at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Ind., where he played for head coach Seth Zartman and assistant Dick Siler (an Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer).
While at Bethel, DuBois did an internship in the athletic department at the University of Notre Dame. He enjoyed the experience, but missed interacting with athletes.
When wife Holly, who was an NAIA All-American softball player at Bethel, went to Hazelhurst, Miss., as part of the Teach for America program, J.J. enrolled in graduate school at Belhaven University in nearby Jackson, Miss., where he gained experience in game day operations and marketing. He also volunteered for the Blazers baseball staff, watching Belhaven go 37-21 in 2013 and 42-21 in 2014.
Belhaven is where DuBois encountered head baseball coach Hill Denson.
“He had the biggest influence in making me want to pursue coaching,” says DuBois of Denson, who made such an impact in his time at the University of Southern Mississippi that baseball field is called Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
After a season as an assistant coach at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind., DuBois came to Goshen to teach and spent one season with wife Holly on the softball coaching staff led by Brent Kulp.
Holly (Weaver) DuBois is a teacher at West Goshen Elementary and will guide first graders in 2018-19. The couple have a daughter (Hope) and will soon welcome a son (Owen).
Just part of the “family business” of education includes J.J.’s father Jim DuBois (superintendent of Baugo Community Schools in Elkhart, Ind.), uncle Mike Dubois (teacher at Concord High School in Elkhart, Ind.), aunt Jennifer Cobb (teacher at Discovery Middle School in Granger, Ind.) and uncle Mike Cobb (educator in Edwardsburg, Mich.).
Jim and Laurie DuBois (who worked for many years at Elkhart General Hospital) have four children — Zach, J.J., Sarah and Jessica.
Zach DuBois, 11 months older than J.J. and a Notre Dame graduate, is a country music artist (wife Katy performs with the trio Maybe April).
Sarah (DuBois) McMahon is a nurse at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. Her husband, Kevin McMahon, is a teacher at Jimtown Elementary and has been an assistant baseball coach for Jimtown High School.
Jessica DuBois is a recent Indiana University graduate who has been active in theater with Premier Arts in Elkhart.
J.J. DuBois teaches business at Goshen (Ind.) High School, where he was just named head baseball coach. (Goshen High School Photo)
J.J. DuBois, a Jimtown High School and Bethel College graduate, is now the head baseball coach at Goshen (Ind.) High School. J.J. and wife Holly have a daughter Hope (shown above) and are expecting a son (Owen).