PNC hall-of-famer Chris Schultz a natural
Chris Schultz fits into the small subsection of the population that can pick up just about any athletic endeavor and excel.
“Just by seeing him walk around you might not think it, but he’s an unbelievable athlete,” Elgin (Ill.) High School baseball coach Dave Foerster said of Schultz. “He’s bowled a 300 game, he can hit a golf ball a ton and he probably could have started on our basketball team.”
Schultz’s biggest claim to fame is arguably his considerable baseball talent, which Foerster saw first-hand when he was an assistant coach during Schultz’s playing days at Elgin.
After high school Schultz went on to enjoy a productive college career at Elgin Community College and Purdue-North Central before playing some pro ball with the independent Schaumburg Flyers. He has two Elgin Open golf championships to his name to go along with bowling a perfect 300 game.
Schultz, 26, now lives in LaPorte and works in the IT field for A&A Sheet Metal. In late April he was inducted into Purdue-North Central’s Athletic Hall of Fame and the recognition served as a reminder of just how well Schultz has been able to harness his natural talent.
“I’ve been able to figure some stuff out my own way,” Schultz said. “I don’t always have the perfect technique, but it ends up working out.
“I’d say I have pretty good hand-eye coordination, but a lot of it is work ethic, too.”
Hall of Fame credentials
Schultz made his mark at Elgin High before graduating in 2005. He clubbed a school-record 11 home runs, posted a .455 batting average and served as the ace of the Maroons pitching staff as a senior.
“Chris was a quiet kid, but he is the ultimate competitor,” Foerster said. “In high school he was a really good athlete, but you could tell there was more to come. It was clear he had more to accomplish.”
The big-time production never stopped for Schultz, who starred for two years at ECC before transferring to Purdue-North Central for his final two years of college.
Schultz was described as arguably the best baseball player to suit up for Purdue-North Central as part of his induction into the school’s hall of fame, and it isn’t hard to argue given his stats. As a senior he established single-season school records in batting average (.445), home runs (14), RBI (61), total bases (159), hits (85), runs (52) and slugging percentage (.852) while playing center field for a squad that made an appearance in the NAIA national tournament.
All of Schultz’s accomplishments at Purdue-North Central were recognized during the hall of fame ceremony at the Stardust Events Center in Michigan City. Schultz had more than a dozen guests on hand for the event.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “I’ve never had something like being inducted to a hall of fame happen before, so it was neat to go through the process.
“Everything was good and the speech went well from what I understand. I was kind of nervous because speeches aren’t my thing.”
Focus turns to golf
Schultz enjoyed his brief stint in minor league baseball and helped out as a coach at Purdue-North Central for two years, but he recently decided to trade in his baseball cleats for golf spikes.
Like most of his athletic endeavors, Schultz is thriving on the links. He owns a plus-handicap, which means he is technically better than a scratch golfer.
“I’ve been playing really well lately,” Schultz said. “I’m working 40 hours a week and I go to the driving range during my lunch break and then after work I play.”
Schultz won back-to-back Elgin Open titles in 2006 and 2007, and now he is trying to take his game to even bigger stages.
Last month Schultz birdied the first three holes of a U.S. Open sectional qualifier in South Bend before ultimately falling three strokes short of advancing when he carded a 72.
On Monday he will play in a qualifier for the Web.com Tour’s United Leasing Championship, which will be held Thursday through Sunday in Newburgh. Schultz also has plans to play in a U.S. Amateur qualifier in late July at Ivanhoe in Mundelein, Ill.
“When I went into college I was kind of debating whether I wanted to pursue golf or baseball coming out of Elgin,” Schultz said. “I ended up choosing baseball since I was a pretty good player when I was younger and I had the rest of my life to golf. Now I think I am going to put baseball aside and concentrate on golf these next couple years.”
Given Schultz’s track record, don’t be surprised if the results are impressive.