Northeast baseball program welcomes back familiar face

By Chyna Rogers and Teresa Flores
Staff Writer, Senior Sports Correspondent 

With the start of a new season, the Northeast Eagles baseball team welcomes a new, yet familiar, head coach. Shane Wedd is back, but this time at the helm. Wedd, a Kansas native, is no stranger to the college’s baseball program, having served as assistant baseball coach from 2012 to 2014 under former Head Coach Josh Stewart’s leadership.

The new head coach came to love the game of baseball at a young age. Wedd decided to follow in his family’s footsteps and coach, foregoing his plan to attend culinary school. Since then, the diamond has been his second home and allowed him to play catcher and first base for the University of Kansas Jayhawk baseball team.

Wedd initially came to Northeast as an assistant after coaching at Pratt Community College in Kansas with hopes of taking a position in Texas. Following his time at Northeast, he went on to coach at the highest collegiate level, spending more than two years with Sam Houston State’s Division I baseball program.

After the chance to come back to Northeast as head coach opened, Wedd said it was an easy decision to make. “When I got the opportunity to come back here as a head coach, I jumped at it because I loved this place,” he said. “The opportunity to run my own program is something I’ve always wanted to do. It is different being assistant coach than it is being head coach. I get to make and input my own decisions.”

Having taken the field at both the junior collegiate and four-year level, Wedd said there is a special aspect in coaching at a small college such as Northeast. “This time, in students’ lives, you can have a really big impact, both on and off the field. It’s really a developmental stage in their life as they transition from high school to college and see them grow as men and players,” he said. “Even though you only have a year or two with them, you can really see them grow at a big time in their life. Being around it, they keep me feeling young, too.”

For Wedd, the transition has been easy. “I’ve been here before, and I know the lay of the land. There’s a lot of people still at the school that I had relationships with,” he said. “Coach Stewart, who is now in an administrative role, has been a big mentor to me. It also helps that my assistant coach, Matt Durst, played for me when I was here, and we’ve had a relationship for several years.”

The program has experienced two head coach changes in the last two years after former Head Coach Austin Knight accepted a position for a minor league team within the Seattle Mariners organization. But Wedd said the players have been able to gel well with each other and overcome the change. “The guys have jumped on board with what we’re trying to do. I love their attitude,” Wedd said. “You can tell that they’ve built a pretty strong bond in the fall. They’ve been very coachable and are open to learning. They’ve been top-notch from day one.”

Despite all the changes occurring this season, one thing remains: the game. “Baseball is baseball,” Wedd said. “Everyone does it a little differently, but it’s been the same rules for 150 years.”