The call to the Hall
This year’s induction class of Indiana baseball hall of famers will certainly have a Slicer flavor.
Two former La Porte High School assistant coaches, one of whom was also a player in the prominent program, and the other a head coach and assistant at South Central, will be inducted into the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday.
Former Slicer assistant coach and player Pat O’Neil is being inducted into the IHSBCA Hall of Fame as a coach. Former La Porte assistant coach, South Central head coach and assistant, and longtime umpire Bob Schellinger is also being inducted into the IHSBCA Hall of Fame as a contributor.
The induction will take place at the IHSBCA awards banquet during the annual state clinic Friday thru Sunday at the Sheraton at Keystone at the Crossing in Indianapolis.
“I am honored and humbled by this reward,” O’Neil said. “Many hours of working with young men to achieve success on and off the field means a lot. Being able to work with Coach (Ken) Schreiber and my brother, Chip, as an assistant helped groom me to be a successful head coach.”
Chip O’Neil is already in the IHSBCA Hall of Fame. Both Pat and him played for the Slicers.
For Schellinger, he recognizes the significance of being selected to this Hall of Fame.
“It means a lot, because it’s something that’s voted on by your peers and people you coached against and people you coached with,” Schellinger said. “That’s what means a lot. It’s from those people. The thing that means a lot, too, is I’m going in in two areas. I’m going in as a coach and I’m going in as an umpire.”
Pat O’Neil, who graduated from La Porte High School in 1975, served as La Porte baseball assistant coach under renowed head coach Ken Schreiber from 1984-90 and played under Schreiber in high school.
O’Neil’s career coaching record of 364-124 includes a state championship in 2005 and two state runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2004 at Brownsburg (Ind.) High School, where he was at the helm from 2001-10. O’Neil has coached 12 first-team all-staters, two Mr. Baseballs in Lance Lynn and Tucker Barnhart, and had 60 players play collegiately. Lynn is now with the Texas Rangers, while Barnhart and Drew Storen are with the Cincinnati Reds.
O’Neil graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1980 and is now baseball head coach at Danville (Ind.) Community High School, where he’ll be starting his third season. Previously, he was the head baseball coach at Fountain Central (Ind.), in addition to being a Major League Baseball scout for the Tampa Bay Rays from 1995-98.
O’Neil said he’s relishing the magnitude of the induction ceremony.
“It’s going to be special to be amongst other Hall of Famers, as well as the baseball coaching family, my family, friends, ex-players and ex-teammates,” O’Neil said. “Deep in my heart I am a Slicer, and very proud to have been part of the history. However, I am very proud of leaving a positive influence amongst all the players, coaches and communities that I have had the privilege to represent.”
Like O’Neil, Schellinger coached with Schreiber at La Porte, although they served as assistants at different times.
Schellinger graduated from South Bend St. Joseph’s High School and Illinois Benedictine College. Schellinger spent 17 years coaching at South Central and compiled 348 wins and had a 71 percent winning percentage at the Satellites’ helm.
“Coaching at South Central was awesome,” he said. “The people at South Central were super to me. The parents, the kids. I have no complaints. It was a dream job I was lucky to get right out of college.”
After S.C, Schellinger served as Slicer assistant for nine seasons.
Besides coaching, Schellinger has umpired baseball the last 46 years, and he’s aiming to do it again this spring.
Schellinger’s worked 17 sectionals, 11 regionals, five semistates, four state title games and three IHSBCA North/South All-Star Series. He’s been awarded IHSBCA Umpire of the Year four times and he was honored as the IHSAA Official of the Year in baseball at the 2017 State Finals.
Schellinger was on the Slicer baseball coaching staff that won the 2000 Class 4A state title. He was La Porte football’s head coach when the team made the 2014 Class 5A state finals.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of people who have done that,” he added.
At the same time, Schellinger said it’s fitting to be inducted with another former Slicer in O’Neil.
“It speaks highly of the Slicer baseball program,” he said. “It shows the quality of people we’ve had in our program. Obviously, coach (Ken) Schreiber is in, and in time, (current) coach (Scott) Upp will be in. And also, I’m the first one ever from South Central to get inducted, because that’s where I did most of my coaching, so that’s neat.”
In addition to O’Neil and Schellinger, former Major Leaguer Scott Rolen, a 1993 Jasper graduate, will be inducted as a player. Rolen is now the director of player development at Indiana University. Other inductees will be Fred “Cy” Williams and Ronald J. McClain. Williams is a former Major Leaguer born in minuscule Wadena, Ind., and the Indianapolis native McClain is a former trainer who worked for several pro teams.