BY STEVE KRAH
Tristan McIntyre was proud to be associated with McCutcheon High School baseball even before he pulled on a Mavericks uniform.
That emotion continued as McIntyre played for Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Jake Burton and helped the West Lafayette-based Mavs win an IHSAA Class 4A state championship in his senior year of 2003.
“He had pride in the program and invested a lot of time and energy in making this one of the better programs in the state,” says McIntyre of Burton. “That has resonated down through everyone who has come through and played for him.”
As a youngster, Tristan attended McCutcheon baseball camps. Older cousins Jake McIntyre (Class of 1996) and Nick McIntyre (Class of 1999) played for the Mavs. McCutcheon was a state runner-up in 1994 and state champion in 1999.
Tristan grew up as the only child of Roger and Shirley McIntyre (now deceased) in Stockwell, Ind., which is about 10 miles southeast of McCutcheon, and got his diamond start in the PONY Baseball (which is now Shetland for 6U, Pinto for 8U, Mustang for 10U, Bronco for 12U, Pony for 14U, Colt for 16U, Palomino for 18U and Thorobred 23U). Gary Christopher was the coach.
As he progressed, the young McIntyre played for teams based at James E. Cole Elementary, Lauramie Township and then Wainwright Middle School.
In high school, McIntyre played in the Colt World Series in Lafayette. After that came Lafayette American Legion Post 11, coached by Jim Watson and Dan Yeoman.
McIntyre played three seasons for the Boilermakers (2005, 2006 and 2008). He redshirted his freshman year (2004) and because of injury missed another season (2007).
The 2008 Boilers went 21-10 in Big Ten Conference play and featured future big leaguer and current Korea Baseball Organization star Josh Lindblom as the closer.
McIntyre remembers Lindblom hitting 100 mph on the radar gun at Northwestern, the only time he’s been around someone who hit triple digits.
“We knew that if we could get the ball to him with the lead it was pretty much ‘game over,’” says McIntyre of Lindblom, a graduate of Harrison High School in Lafayette. “His stuff was just so electric.
“(New Haven High School graduate) Matt Bischoff was a starting pitcher that had really good command and could go out there and give us seven or eight innings every start (in 2008).
“We had a lefty out of the bullpen — (Hammond Bishop Noll Institute grad) Andy Loomis — who was lights out that year as well.”
McIntyre was an assistant coach at Bluffton (Ohio) University for two seasons (2009 and 2010) and on the Purdue coaching staff for six seasons (2011-16).
That means the McIntyre both played for Doug Schreiber at Purdue and coached with him at both Purdue and McCutcheon. T-Mac was a part of the Mav coaching staff the past two seasons under Schreiber.
“It’s his knowledge of the game,” says McIntyre of one attribute he appreciates about Schreiber. “He’s been in so many good experiences throughput his career. I just try to be a sponge and soak that in.
“And he’s one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever been around. As a player and a coach, it inspired you to want to work hard and compete and find ways to get guys better and find a way to win.”
With Schreiber leaving to become head baseball coach at Purdue Fort Wayne, McIntyre was recently named head coach of the Mavs and has been reinforcing the culture during fall limited contact workouts.
“We want to take a lot of pride in the opportunity represent McCutcheon and coming out here with a purpose everyday,” says McIntyre. “Ultimately, we want to be able to play the game with confidence and break the game down to a series of one-pitch-at-a-time.
“If we do that over and over again, I think we’ll find ourselves in a lot of ball games with a chance to win.”
McIntyre, 34, takes over a program that went 22-6 and played in the 4A Lafayette Jeff Sectional championship game in 2019.
The coach sees the best chance to keep having success is by limiting the extra outs and offensive opportunities for opponents.
“Stylistically, we want to take care of the baseball whether that’s on the mound or defensively,” says McIntyre, who counts Brandon Fulk, Ryan Wides, Dustin Anthrop and Jake McIntyre among his assistants with the hopes of filling a couple more slots with Schreiber and (Crawfordsville High School head football coach) Kurt Schlicher moving on.
Fulk leads the JV team and is assisted by Anthrop, who is president of McCutcheon Youth Baseball League with Fulk as vice president. Wides works with catchers and outfielders. Jake McIntyre is a McCutcheon social studies teacher.
Nick McIntyre, who is now an assistant at the University of Toledo, was a role model for a young Tristan.
“(Nick) was someone I always looked up to. No. 1, he was talented. No. 2, he was always a competitive guy,” says McIntyre. “As a kid it was fun to be around him. He’s a high energy guy and obviously knows the game.”
As coaches, Tristan and Nick have been able to bounce ideas off one another. While Tristan was a hitter and a pitcher in high school, he has moved toward the pitching side of things while Nick’s focus has been offense.
“He knows the mindset of the hitter and he’s always been very open as far as giving me tips and things along those lines,” says Tristan.
Away from baseball, Tristan and wife Andrea are the parents of daughter Clara (4). His day job is finance and operations manager at Gutwein Law in Lafayette.
“To be able to do this in general it takes the support of a lot of people,” says McIntyre. “First and foremost is my wife. She has to be very understanding and patient. Having her on-board is tremendous.
“(Gutwein) has been very gracious to me and flexible with my schedule.”
Tristan McIntyre, a 2003 McCutcheon High School graduate and a Mavericks assistant for the past two seasons, is now head baseball coach at his alma mater. He also played and coached at Purdue University and coached at Bluffton (Ohio) University. (Steve Krah Photo)