02/21/2014 12:02 PM -
Whiting, Ind. – February 21, 2014 – Many baseball players have fond memories of their fathers coaching them growing up. For Western Michigan freshman Nate Schneider, the days of playing for his father extended to his high school career.
Schneider, who will spend the summer as a member of the Oilmen, played under his father Paul at Portage Central High School in Michigan.
“It had its ups and downs,” Nate Schneider said. “I could get all the extra practice in that I wanted to and I was always picking his brain watching the Tigers games and learning everything I could about baseball. Sometimes it created some awkward situations at home when he would get on me in the game and I would be mad at him when I got home.”
For the Schneiders, baseball has always been a family affair. Nate and his brother Derek are just one year apart in school, so they were teammates for three years at Portage Central with their father serving as head coach and their mother helping out as the team’s photographer.
“Coaches’ sons have to do a little more,” Paul Schneider said. “They have to be a little smarter and they have to be a little sharper. That’s the way we did it. I basically told him that you’ve got to be better than everybody else for me to play you because you’re my son.”
When Nate’s high school baseball career came to an end, the family affair continued. Nate joined his brother Derek, a sophomore left-handed pitcher, on the Broncos’ roster.
Paul Schneider is a former outfielder and pitcher at Western Michigan and a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. Schneider met his wife while attending the university. He was overcome by emotion when learning that his sons would play together at his alma mater.
“It was the proudest moment of my life,” he said. “It’s crazy how it all works out and how it all panned out. I just couldn’t be prouder that both of my boys are having the same dream that I had.”
Nate and Paul Schneider both did thorough research before selecting Nate’s summer baseball destination. Both were impressed with the credentials of manager Justin Huisman and the Oilmen coaching staff.
“I’m really happy he’s going to be there because I think his coaches are really going to help him advance as a baseball player,” Paul Schneider said. “(Huisman) looks similar to what Nate looks like and I think with his background and experience, he’s really going to help Nate move to the next level.”
Both Paul and Nate listed athleticism and versatility as two of Nate’s strongest attributes on the playing field.
“I think with his size (6-2, 210), people are surprised at what a good athlete he is,” Paul Schneider said. “In high school, he was my best athlete and best player. Although other guys had better numbers, you can count on Nate to be there every day.”