By STEVE KRAH
Frank Severa had decades of high school coaching experience and was putting it to use again when sports came to a standstill because of COVID-19.
The 1974 Mishawaka (Ind.) High School graduate was a head coach at Rains High School in Emory, Texas (1982), and LaVille High School in Lakeville, Ind. (1998), and served on the staff of 13-time Hall of Famer Ken Schreiber at LaPorte (Ind.) High School (1993-99) as well as many other positions in baseball and football.
Until recently, he ran his own strength and conditioning business.
Severa became a head baseball coach at the prep level for the third time when he was hired prior to 2020 at Argos (Ind.) Community Junior/Senior High School in Marshall County. Back issues caused him to step down and the pandemic kept him from coaching a game for the Dragons and Mishawaka alum Joe Kindig was hired as head coach for 2021.
Severa died May 19, 2021 at 64.
In his last coaching role, Severa established principles of success:
1. Make a commitment and honor it.
2. Develop a self-discipline work ethic.
“At some point they’ll be left to their own devices,” said Severa. “My eyes aren’t on them all the time.”
3. Accept and apply the coaching we’re offering to them.
4. Find a role on the team and develop it.
5. Develop that TEAM is greater than Me attitude.
“Get beyond the scholarship mentality and go with what’s best for the program,” said Severa.
6. Be accountable to themselves and their teammates.
Severa was a third baseman and pitcher while earning two baseball letters at Mishawaka for coach John Danaher. He was team MVP as a senior.
After taking it on the chin against LaPorte, Severa and a teammate went over to the home of the Slicers and sat on 10th Street, watching Schreiber lead his team through a two-hour practice. He would be an assistant at LaPorte for seven seasons through 1999 — the last year as head junior varsity and program pitching coach.
“There was a lot of pressure,” said Severa. “The JV was expected to win 20 games every year.
“That was the benchmark.”
Severa was a kicker and defensive lineman for Mishawaka coach Bill Doba on the football field.
Marv Wood, who many know as the coach on the Milan state champions in 1954, was Severa’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes advisor.
“(Wood) had a huge impact on me,” says Severa, who went on to pitch at Central Florida Community College.
At Ball State University, Severa was a kicker for a football program led by Dave McClain. A B.S. in education was earned at BSU in 1980.
Taking a leave of absence from LaPorte, Severa got a masters in education at Valparaiso (Ind.) University in 1998. While at VU, he helped Crusaders head coach Paul Twenge with the baseball team.
Severa was a speaker and organizer at many clinics over the years, including the Chicago Catholic League, Bangor (Mich.) Youth Basseball Coaches, Tri-State Baseball Coaches (bringing in Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer Lloyd McClendon as the featured speaker) and Cassopolis (Mich.) Youth Baseball Coaches.
He was a member of the IHSBCA, American Baseball Coaches Association, National High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Severa wrote a screenplay — “Throwback Hero.”
“The premise of the story: A floundering modern-day former baseball MVP mysteriously was up playing for the St. Louis Cardinals Gas House Gang,” says Severa. “The rub is his competition: A cocky 22-year-old rookie who schools him in baseball and life — his grandfather.”
Frank and wife Cheryl Severa had two children — Erin Manering and Frank Severa — and four grandchildren. Erin and Chris Manering have two children as do Frank and Ashley Severa. Cheryl Severa has worked for LaPorte Community Schools.