After years of spending time in Goshen, loving baseball and being the men’s baseball assistant coach, Brad Stoltzfus has been promoted to head coach of the Goshen College men’s baseball team. Stoltzfus brings a new energy to the baseball team and trying to cultivate a community unified with GC’s core values.Stoltzfus grew up in Souderton, Pennsylvania, fifty minutes north of Philadelphia, but he was always surrounded by Goshen alumni. He made a visit to Goshen his senior year in high school because he had relatives that attended, and said, “My parents, my brother, my grandparents and some relatives all attended Goshen College, so when I was a senior in high school I came for a visit, loved it and eventually committed here.”
After that, during his first spring semester, his parents and sister moved to Goshen from Pennsylvania. “It’s very much a family town for me, and it’s definitely home now,” Stoltzfus said. After a successful high school career playing baseball, he went on to start all four years on the same team he now coaches. “Once I graduated, I helped as an assistant coach until last year,” Stoltzfus continued, “and then I was appointed head coach in the summer of this year.”
When asked about what he is doing to unify the baseball team with the rest of campus, Stoltzfus replied, “Frankly, if we want to find success on the field, it’ll start with the relationships we make together as a team, but also with the other people on campus.”
Roommates, floor-mates, professors, cafeteria workers and Java workers were all listed by Stoltzfus as good places to start for baseball players looking to improve relationships on campus.
“There has to be open mindedness, and there also has to be good relationships on the team too,” said Stoltzfus.
Starting small and taking time to figure out the path to success are his plans for his players going forward.
“He emphasizes doing the little things right and respecting the game of baseball,” said Eric Pettipiece, a current baseball player.
Stoltzfus feels he can be related to by the players, and he can help guide them forward because of his experience being in the same situations that his players are in now.
“I can try to be a good presence on campus and try to lead the team, and then I can’t just not back it up myself,” Stoltzfus said.
He tries his best to show up when it matters, show them how to practice with intention and hold himself accountable instead of making excuses.
“His energy and passion for the game of baseball is something that we all look forward to everyday,” Pettipiece said.
Coach Stoltzfus’ way of showing up has seemed to work, with Pettipiece going on to say “I believe that the way that the campus views us is also changing in a positive way, and with Coach Brad’s energy, this is just the beginning of the transformation of our team’s image, campus-wide.” Pettipiece continued, “It is emphasized that Coach Brad is not only trying to develop baseball players, but he’s also trying to develop men that will be successful later on in life.”
Since coming into his role as coach, Stoltzfus has made sure to emphasize on the fundamentals of baseball. “With having such a young squad, I believe that is extremely important to have that emphasis, as the transition from high school to college baseball,” Stoltzfus said. “[It] can sometimes be difficult, and can mentally wear down younger college players.”
By increasing focus on fundamentals and the simple things in baseball, Stoltzfus has managed to bring the team closer together.
Pettipiece said, “I believe that the group of guys that we have on our team this year are much closer to one another than we have had in years past.”
Showing off his gleaming smile and boisterous beard around campus, Stoltzfus leads by example on and off the field.
Rosemary Baer, a freshman who has seen Stoltzfus around campus, said, “Brad has been one of the most welcoming faculty members on campus. He goes out of his way to check on students like me and I’m so glad that people like Brad are making Goshen a better place.”
Stoltzfus wants his players to be well-mannered on campus, to do everything with intention going forward, walk with confidence and have their heads held high.
“Be the change you want to see,” Stoltzfus said.