College Athletics: Offseason pace becomes busier for CLC baseball coach
Central Lakes College head baseball coach Brian Voigt wrapped up his second season in May, but his offseason pace has picked up.
On March 20, Voigt was named head coach of the Raider women's basketball team, replacing Randy Swanhorst who coached CLC to a region tournament berth last season.
Voigt is guiding his baseball team through a rebuilding process and he is now in charge of a basketball team that returns six players and is hungry for postseason success in 2018-2019.
"They are excited, but they are also disappointed because they felt they should have won a couple of more games in the region and they fell short of their team goal from last year," Voigt said of the returning basketball players. "With the great success they had last year, it is a great foundation to work from.
"It was a surprise and it is a great opportunity because there are six awesome young ladies who are returning who are great people to be around," he said of the opportunity to coach the basketball team. "The fact they are good to be around on the court is the bonus part."
The baseball team completed its second season under Voigt's leadership with an 8-24 overall record and 3-5 in Central Division play. CLC eam had a number of games in division play that were snowed out, but it was an improvement on the 2017 team where the Raiders finished 5-40 overall, 4-12 in division play.
"I think we are on the right track, and I think improving by three games for the overall win total is big," Voigt said of the baseball team. "In reality, our win percentage was higher because we ended up losing 18 games to the weather.
"The conference record took care of itself but it is so important to keep winning more games than last year in the rebuilding process because it shows the freshman that we are on track and it shows the recruits coming in that there is improvement and that they can make a difference in getting us to that next step."
Among the highlights for the baseball team this past season was a 3-game winning streak from late April to early May. During that span, the Raiders outscored their opponents 37-15. In the eight wins CLC accrued this season, Raider pitchers compiled an ERA of 3.83 with 31 walks and 47 strikeouts in 54 innings. The offense scored 81 runs in those eight wins and the Raiders finished with a season batting average of .303.
"When we won our games this year, our pitching was lights out and we didn't walk guys," Voigt said. "When there is solid defense behind them, the pitch count stays low and they can stay in longer. A couple of our guys were good up to 100-110 pitches and they do have the ability to strike out anyone at any time. When they do that, we only give up two to three runs and with our offense we were able to score 8-9 runs per game."
Several Raiders were winners of team, division, and all-state baseball awards.
"Eric Hinnenkamp was our Cy Young team award winner, and he was honorable mention All-Central Division," Voigt said. "Casey Welsh won our Silver Slugger team award, he was first-team all-division and he was also second-team all-state.
"Josh Fussy was our team MVP and was all-division and all-state. And, our Raider Best Teammate award went to Alex Guggisberg who did everything for us as our leader. Alonzo Knowles was also first-team all-division."
Voigt has already received commitments from Preston Rocheleau of Pierz and Jake Kapphahn of Little Falls for the 2019 season.
While Voigt is building a baseball team that had six total wins in two years prior to his arrival, he steps into a different situation with the Raider women's basketball team.
CLC finished 14-11 overall, 6-6 in division play, earning a trip to region tournament. The Raiders lost a close game to the Pioneers at Northland 59-54. That has the returning players striving for more success.
The Northern Division's top teams—Hibbing, Northland, and Rainy River—all brought accurate shooting from the perimeter along with solid post play. Voigt is looking to implement a style which will promote that style of play.
"We are looking to come out and get some shots up from the outside and complement that with a good presence inside and build off of that," Voigt said. "Moving the ball in and out, and getting the ball up and down the court is my philosophy, and it makes the game less robotic. We are not going to be a team that is going to be calling out plays all the time. It is more rules-based and it is hard to scheme against."
Four Raiders—Liz Anderson, Naomi Lane, Lindsey Hendrickson and Katelyn Waytashek—gave CLC minutes in the post. They will play a big part in the team's potential success next season.
"I think those four are a really good combo, but we are looking at some more post players," Voigt said. "As good as Liz Anderson is down low, I think she can move to the 3 position and cause a lot of mismatches and get us rebounds from the wing that can make us really strong, and she is so versatile.
"Naomi Lane had a double-double close to every game and she is just a dominant force. She is going to be someone we can build off of down there. Lindsey Hendrickson and Katelyn Waytashek will step into bigger roles as sophomores and they can add that rebounding presence."
One of the items Voigt is actively working on for both of his teams is a social media presences which he feels is key in recruiting.
"Like it, love it, or hate it, kids are on social media and we work to provide positive content for them to look at that gets our school's name out there and shows that a two-year school is a good fit," Voigt said.
As he moves forward in his coaching career, Voigt has had the advantage of working with mentors. Those include former Riverland head coach Scott Koenigs, Northern State coach Dean Berry, and Augustana coach Tim Huber, who coached his Vikings in the national championship game.
And, on the basketball side, he has served as an assistant coach under CLC head men's basketball coach Jim Russell the last two years.
"Coach Russell and I have a really good relationship and he is a definitely a mentor who helps with what ideas are good and what we should and shouldn't do," Voigt said. "He has been around the game for a long time. He has been at CLC for a long time and is a mainstay in this league. He has also watched a lot of women's basketball in this league too and he knows what it takes."