By STEVE KRAH
Covenant Christian High School baseball players hoisted a sectional trophy in 2018.
The Warriors reigned at the IHSAA Class 2A event at Speedway.
That was only part of what veteran head coach Andy Gossel wants his players to achieve.
“Our two team core covenants are to be relentless to be selfless,” says Gossel. “We emblazon them on everything. This is what we’re about.”
Gossel wants his athletes to see how this looks in the class room, weight room, on game days and in dealing with their parents — in all aspects of their lives.
“We want to win games and championships,” says Gossel. “But we’re passionate about helping kids develop and grow as men of God.
“We want to impact kids’ lives far above and beyond the baseball field. They’re going to spend a much greater amount of being fathers, husbands, employees and employers than baseball players.”
Each year, Gossel and his team pick a book or topic to focus on besides baseball. They have done Bible studies and delved into John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.
Gossel goes to the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention when its within driving distance.
“It’’s so phenomenal,” says Gossel. “Coaches at so many levels share what they do.
“They are so approachable.”
In attending the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Indianapolis in January 2018, Gossel noticed that the subject of relational coaching kept coming up.
“I don’t know if it’s a bigger emphasis or more people are willing to talk about it, but it was like an ad hoc theme for the weekend,” says Gossel, who saw Sam Houston State University head coach Matt Deggs do a presentation on the big stage about going from a transactional to a transformational coach.
“When it gets down to the nitty gritty, kids are going to remember the relationship so much more,” says Gossel, a Buffalo, N.Y., native who played at and graduated from Bible Baptist College (now Clarks Summit University in Pennsylvania) in 1997, and is heading into his 22nd season as a head baseball coach in 2019.
Following six seasons at Arlington Baptist School in Baltimore, this will be his 16th at Covenant Christian on the west side of Indianapolis (the school is at 21st Street and Girls School Road just over a mile from Ben Davis High School).
Kingsway Christian in Avon, Ind., and Mooresville (Ind.) Christian Academy in Mooresville are considered feeder schools. But students come from all over to attend the school for grades 9-12.
Covenant Christian has played on-campus at Warrior Park since 2003. The school started its baseball program in 2000 with no facility to call their own. A fund was established to built a field in honor of long-time player and Covenant parent Scott Dobbs after he lost his battle with cancer in the fall of 2002.
Gossel, who is also the school’s athletic director, says Covenant is constantly looking to improve the field.
So far, Denis Schinderle returning to his varsity coaching staff. He has been with Gossel for most of his Covenant tenure and both his sons played for Gossel. Chris Stevenson is back to lead the junior varsity. A search is on for other coaches.
Covenant Christian (enrollment of about 365) is a member of the Circle City Conference (with Brebeuf Jesuit, Guerin Catholic, Heritage Christian, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard and Roncalli).
The CCC plays a home-and-home series, usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays to determine the regular-season conference champion. A year-end tournament is slated for May 17-18 at Roncalli.
“There’s no easy games in that conference,” says Gossel. “It’s really going to be a challenge for us.
“It prepared us for the state tournament. Every play was important. Every inning was important.”
The 2018 season in the Circle City was probationary for new member Covenant though the Warriors played all league teams twice but Roncalli.
The Warriors are in an IHSAA Class 2A sectional grouping with Indianapolis Shortridge, Indianapolis Washington, Park Tudor, Speedway and Cascade. Covenant Christian won its fourth sectional title in 2018, reigning at the Speedway Sectional.
“We can be very competitive at the sectional level,” says Gossel. “We’ve never gotten out of the regional.”
Covenant currently has graduate Eric Murphy (Wabash College) playing baseball at the next level.
Andy and Laura Gossel met at college. They have been married more than 21 years and have three children. Ty Gossel (16) is a sophomore football and baseball player at Covenant. Jacob Gossel (14) is a freshman basketball and baseball athlete at Covenant. The youngest is daughter Elyssa Gossel (11).
Andy Gossel is the athletic director and head baseball coach at Covenant Christian High School in Indianapolis. (Covenant Christian Photo)
Andy Gossel is heading into his 16th season as the head baseball coach at Covenant Christian High School in Indianapolis in 2019. (Covenant Christian Photo)
As head baseball coach at Covenant Christian High School in Indianapolis, Andy Gossel and his Warriors constantly talk about the covenants of being relentless and selfless. (Covenant Christian Photo)
Andy Gossel came to Covenant Christian High School in Indianapolis in the fall of 2003 to be head baseball coach and athletic director. The Warriors won the IHSAA Class 2A Speedway Sectional in 2018. (Covenant Christian Photo)