Reel steps up to plate

IUS Horizon

Ben Reel, the new IUS baseball head coach, lists one of his hobbies as hard work. The various improvements he has made to the Koetter Sports Baseball Complex back this up.

Since Reel replaced Josh Schultz as head baseball coach earlier this summer, he has turned two rooms in the press box that were formerly storage rooms into offices, did a lot of work to the field, and worked extensively on the dugouts.

“I’m a go-getter,” Reel said. “I work can work from sun up until sun down, and when I get home I feel like I haven’t done anything.”

Reel said he expects the same kind of work ethic out of his team.

“We’re going to put in the work to win,” he said.

Reel is a graduate of IU Southeast and played baseball during his time on campus. In 2006 he was a member Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference First Team, and was the starting catcher and team captain for an IU Southeast team that finished the season 30-26 and as the KIAC Runner-up.

Reel also excelled in the classroom, earning the KIAC Scholar Athlete Award, and being named a NAIA All-American Scholar Athlete.

After playing at IU Southeast he returned to the baseball program as an assistant coach in 2007 under Schultz, who compiled a record of 55-48 for two seasons as head baseball coach. Reel said he also gained valuable experience coaching the East Cobb Cubs in Atlanta, Ga., during the summer of 2008. The East Cobb Cubs are a team composed high school all-stars.

Reel turned down a higher-paying job to become the head coach at IU Southeast, and said was happy to do so.

“I’m elated that they would make a promotion in house,” Reel said.

Reel’s players are also happy he was promoted.

“He knows the program and knows how to play the game,” Ben Wyatt, senior outfielder, said.

Josh Weinberg, junior, recently transferred to IU Southeast and said he was disappointed when he heard Coach Schultz would be leaving to accept a position at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, but was encouraged when he received a call from Reel, and is happy he came to IU Southeast.

“He knows what he wants and how to get it,” Weinberg said. “He will surround himself with the people to get it done.”

Reel, 24, is one of the youngest coaches in collegiate baseball. Both Wyatt and Weinberg said they like the fact their coach is so young.

“I’m the same age as my coach, but I dig it,” Weinberg said.

Wyatt said he agrees.

“A young coach is easier to relate to,” Wyatt said.

Reel said his age is kind of a catch-22. On one had some may say his age is a detriment because it equals a lack of experience, but at the same time the fact that he is close in age to his players and even played with a few of them allows him to relate to them on a personal level.

Reel said he expects big things early in his tenure as head coach.

“We are going to be successful,” Reel said. “We are going to win the conference championship, the conference tournament and make a run in the national tournament.”

Reel said he is going to bring a more aggressive game plan to the table, compared to the style employed by Schultz.

“I’m very, very aggressive on offense,” Reel said.

He said the Grenadiers are going to force the action on offense by using hit and runs and trying to move base runners over.

Although Reel said he thinks the Grenadiers will have success on offense, he said it is going to be their pitching and defense that will be key in a deep post-season run.

“I believe defense and pitching wins championships,” Reel said. “We’re going to win with pitching and defense. I think we have the best in the conference.”

Reel said he wants to make sure his players excel off of the field as well.

“A student’s first priority on campus is education,” Reel said. “I want them to represent IUS well and become successful in life.”

Reel said he would bring more regional notoriety to the IU Southeast baseball program by trying to get the community involved. He said he is often surprised, when not far form campus, that people ask him where IU Southeast is located.

In life, often timing is everything, and Reel said he feels he is taking over at the right time.

He said he thinks the sky is the limit for the IU Southeast baseball program.

“I think I hit it right on the sweet spot. It’s nothing but a home run for me,” he said.