Baseball Coach of the Year: Bishop Noll’s Paul Wirtz
BY LaMond Pope 713-2691 or firstname.lastname@example.org June 15, 2013 11:40PM
Updated: July 17, 2013 7:03AM
HAMMOND — Paul Wirtz played summer baseball for Jim Nohos when he was 16.
Even then, Nohos saw the elements of a good coach in Wirtz.
“He was a student of the game, even in his younger years. As a player, he was a hard worker. No one worked harder than him on the baseball field,” Nohos said. “He took the time to learn what everyone else needed to do. You can see with his personal relationships with his teammates that he loved the game and he loved the bonds that he made on the baseball field.”
Wirtz just completed his seventh season as the coach at Bishop Noll. And it was some season.
The Warriors went undefeated in conference play and also captured a Class 2A Whiting Sectional title, with Wirtz, the Post-Tribune’s baseball coach of the year, there to guide the team.
Bishop Noll began the year 1-2, but didn’t lose again until the final game of the regular season.
In between, the Warriors won 21 games in a row.
“That comes from (the players), they worked hard and they bought into what our coaching staff was doing,” Wirtz said. “Our coaching staff did a tremendous job all year. (It had) very little to do with me. I’ve got a huge staff and each one of them does an amazing job.”
The Warriors reached the Whiting Regional championship game and nearly completed a remarkable comeback before falling to Adams Central 12-9. The team finished with a 26-4 overall record.
Bishop Noll received contributions from everyone. Seniors Matt Sandoval, Chad Mateja, Julian Guerrero, Danny Pobereyko and Austin Howard led the way. Seven juniors, four sophomores (including three starters) and even a couple of freshmen call-ups played a role.
Sandoval said playing for Wirtz was a “great experience.”
“He’ll take the time to talk to you one-on-one just to help you out,” Sandoval said.
Wirtz received help from Nohos to start his coaching career. Nohos asked Wirtz if he was interested in giving coaching a try. Wirtz served as an assistant at Lake Central for four years and then an assistant for two more at Bishop Noll before becoming the team’s head coach.
“I’m so proud of him. He does a great job,” said Nohos, who is now an assistant for the Warriors. “He is meticulous in his work. He has a lot of pride with what he does. No matter what you do, you want to have some ownership in your job and I think he does that really well. And that’s good to see.”
Wirtz said Nohos has been the biggest influence on his playing and coaching career. He also credited other coaches, and praised the work of his staff.
His favorite part of the coaching is watching the players develop on and off the field.
“We preach all the time ‘sometimes you get good results, but if you are not doing it the right way, that’s not the way we want to do it,’” Wirtz said. “When kids finally understand that and buy into the proper attitude, the proper effort at all times, that’s when it gets really rewarding.”