2012 Iowa Conference champions
Matt Schirm is in his first year as Central’s head baseball coach.
Schirm is a veteran coach, most recently serving as the top assistant at Wartburg College from 2011-14. He coached the Knights' hitters and catchers, while assistaing with recruiting and all other aspects of the program. The teams led the Iowa Conference in hitting in two of Schirm’s three seasons and won the conference regular season and tournament championships in 2013.
A Coe College graduate, Schirm received all-Iowa Conference honors and served as team captain in 2001. He also played baseball in Nicaragua and El Salvador with Athletes in Action in 1999.
From 2001-03, Schirm served as pitching coach at University of the Cumberlands (Ky.),where he also earned a master’s degree in education.
From 2004-2006, Schirm worked as assistant director at the North Carolina Baseball Academy in Greensboro, N.C. He gave thousands of private lessons and helped run numerous camps and clinics at the academy.
In 2007, started a master's program in exercise physiology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, receiving a master's degree in human movement at A.T. Still University in 2009.
Schirm has four goals for his program each year.
“My most important responsibility each year is to develop an outstanding team environment," he said. "Second, I want my players to succeed in the classroom. Third, through our practices, I want to help each player achieve his potential as an athlete and our team to achieve its potential on the field. If we take care of the first three goals, we’ll be in a good place to win championships consistently, which is my fourth and final goal each year.”
At Central, Schirm leads a program that has posted five straight 20-win seasons, averaging more than 25 victories per year in that span.
Schirm and his wife, Jessica, have two children: Anderson, 7, and Gabriel, 1.
John Love joined the Central baseball staff in 2014 as assistant coach and pitching coach.
Love spent the previous three seasons as pitching coach at Hiram (Ohio) College. During his time at Hiram, Love also served as head coach of the Northern Ohio Bucs, a summer baseball travel program.
“We were very impressed with John and his vision for our pitching staff,” said new head coach Matt Schirm. “John has a very well-thought-out plan for our program and I think he’ll be a great fit with our players.”
A 2011 graduate of Juniata (Pa.) College, Love was a four-year starter for the Eagles and ranks fourth all-time at the school in shutouts and seventh in starts and complete games pitched. Love received his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Hiram in 2014.
Cody Baethke is in his second season as an assistant baseball coach at Central College.
A native of Williamsburg and 2010 Central graduate, Baethke was a four-time letterwinner for the Dutch football team and was named second-team all-conference defensive back in 2009. He is second on the school leaderboard with 26 career pass breakups. Central won three Iowa Conference championships and posted a 46-9 overall record during his career.
Baethke served as an assistant coach at the University of Wis.-Eau Claire in 2012, where he coached outside linebackers and was the video director.
Phone: (641) 628-5590
Former high school coach Todd Zylstra is in his fifth season as a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Central College.
Zylstra works with Central’s junior varsity squad. A 1990 Dordt College graduate, Zylstra piloted Pella Christian to the Class 2A state high school baseball championship in 1994 during a two-year stint as head coach, following a season as an assistant. He returned as an assistant coach in 2007-08.
Zylstra earlier was head baseball coach at Ontario (Calif.) Christian High School in 1992 after a year as an assistant, and was head coach at Denver (Colo.) Christian High School in 1998, leading the team to the Metro League Conference title. He served as pitching coach at Denver Christian in 1996-97 and 2000, helping the club win the Class 3A state crown in 1996.
A former teacher and school administrator, Zylstra has served as a pastor to teens and young adults at Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella since 2002. He is pursuing a Master of Biblical Studies degree from Birmingham (Ala.) Theological Seminary.
Eric Van Wyngarden
Eric Van Wyngarden joined the Central College baseball staff as a volunteer assistant coach prior to the 2014 season.
Van Wyngarden is a 2003 Central graduate where he was a four-year letterwinner. He served 11 years as an assistant coach at Pella Christian High School. He works as an investment advisor representative at Van Wyngarden Investments.
Student assistant coach
Fort Madison, Iowa