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Baseball: Bohmbach steps down as Red Wing baseball coach; Hartmann to take over

After seven years as Red Wing’s head baseball coach, Jim Bohmbach is stepping away from the dugout.

During Monday night’s School Board meeting, Red Wing activities director Matt Schultz said that Bohmbach resigned as the Wingers’ head coach after compiling an 87-62 record since taking over for Brian Auge in 2007.

Bohmbach, who graduated from Red Wing Central High School, no longer could make the time commitment work between being a coach and working his job at ProAct.

“My job is changing, and not being able to put the time in to do a good job was the main reason (for stepping down),” Bohmbach said. “We got a $200,000 grant at ProAct, and that means there will be a lot of training. Time-wise, it would be almost impossible to get to practices and games and you kind of lose your edge when you’re not at the school.”

Along with Bohmbach’s resignation, Schultz announced that Paul Hartmann will take over as head coach after being the co-head coach with Bohmbach last spring.

Hartmann, a 1997 graduate of Red Wing High School, said he was informed of Bohmbach’s decision in the middle of November.

“We had some ongoing conversations into the summer and fall, and it became official right before Thanksgiving,” Hartmann said. “With his new schedule, it wouldn’t be conducive to coaching. I don’t think we were shocked that he was going, but we didn’t think it would be this year.”

Bohmbach admitted even he didn’t think it would happen this season.

“I should have made the decision sooner, but I was hoping something would change (at work),” Bohmbach said. “But by the time I get done in the day, there is not a lot of energy to put into coaching.”

A newcomer to high school coaching when he took over in 2007, it didn’t take long for Bohmbach to prove his merit with a 15-7 record and a second-place showing in the Missota Conference. After three straight fifth-place finishes in the conference, the Wingers broke out in 2011, winning the Missota after going 18-7 overall. 

Then in 2012, Red Wing went 23-2, winning the Missota for a second straight year before clinching the team’s first state tournament berth since 1977. The Wingers went on to share the consolation championship with Hill-Murray in the rain-shortened playoffs.

“Brian left the program in great shape, and when I came in, the first great player I had was Aaron Johnson. It was a great opportunity to coach a pitcher like him,” Bohmbach said.

During his tenure, Bohmbach was the overseer on a talented crop of players who went on to play collegiately, including Johnson and Adam Thygesen (Southwest Minnesota State), Pat Kelly (Nebraska) and David Goggin (Angelo State).

This June, Red Wing had its first player taken in the Major League Baseball Draft when Ryan Boldt was selected in the 22nd round by the Boston Red Sox. Current Winger Ty Buck is already tabbed as one of the top prospects in the 2015 class.

Besides the top-level talent Red Wing has produced in his time, Bohmbach said his decision was even more difficult with the group of players coming up through the youth program. “I know there is some quality teams in the youth program where we could have (a team) like the one I had (in 2012),” he said.

“But,” Bohmbach added, “duty calls elsewhere that I have to dedicate to my job.”

And in Bomhbach’s place is Hartmann, who coached at Hastings for six years before returning to Red Wing. Last year as co-head coaches, Hartmann and Bohmbach led the Wingers to a 6-11 record in an injury-riddled and weather-shortened season.

“Jim did a great job of bringing pride back to Red Wing baseball,” Hartmann said. “He had a lot of energy in the dugout. There’s a lot of pride in the community in its baseball and Jim’s one of those people.”

Hartmann, who teaches social studies at Tower View Alternate High School, aims to be involved at all levels of the Winger baseball team from high school to the youth program.

“The biggest thing is having key terminology and focuses and making sure communication is consistent at all levels,” Hartmann said. “In terms of the overall program, we have a strong youth association and it all starts with having numbers. We do an excellent job getting kids out for baseball and we have seen success because of our youth association.”

Knowing Hartmann for over 30 years, and getting the chance to work with him first-hand last spring, Bohmbach believes the Red Wing baseball team is in great hands as he steps away.

“That’s probably the easy thing for me,” Bohmbach said about Hartmann taking the coaching reins. “He is someone that has coached at high school for a while, he’s an alumni at Red Wing, he understands the game and he played at the D-I level (at the University of Minnesota). 

“He’s got the same philosophies that I do. It was a great opportunity last year to be with him. He’ll do a great job.

--News reporter John R. Russett contributed to this story

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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