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Sep '17 28

EBCA Convention – Antwerp 2017 – Meet the Speakers: John Vodenlich


The 2017 EBCA Convention will be held from November 10 to 12 in Antwerp, Belgium. Visit www.baseball-in-europe.com to register.

by European Baseball Coaches Association

Head Coach at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

2005, 2014 NCAA Division III National Champions
2005, 2014 NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year
2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 WIAC Coach of the Year
2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2017 NCAA Regional Coach of the Year
2005 WBCA Man of the Year
2004, 2008, 2010 WBCA College Coach of the Year

John Vodenlich enters his 15th season at the helm of the UW-Whitewater baseball program in 2017-18. He has taken the Warhawks to heights unreached prior to his arrival on campus.

While the Whitewater program has had longstanding success, Vodenlich has set a new standard, turning the Warhawks into a NCAA Division III college baseball power.

During Vodenlich’s 14 seasons as head coach, the Warhawks have won 10 WIAC championships, qualified for the NCAA Championships 12 times and appeared in the NCAA Division III College World Series six times, including winning the 2014 and 2005 NCAA Division III National Championships.

In 2017, Vodenlich achieve his 500th win at UW-Whitewater and was named WIAC Coach of the Year and D3baseball.com Midwest Region Coach of the Year. He led the Warhawks a sweep of the WIAC regular season and tournament championships and the team’s 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

In 2016, Vodenlich became the 43rd active Division III coach to reach 500 career wins in the Warhawks’ NCAA regional-clinching 11-0 victory over Rose-Hulman (Ind.). UW-Whitewater reached the NCAA Championship round for the fourth time since 2008 and the sixth time under Vodenlich.

In 2015, Vodenlich passed his former head coach and current mentor Jim Miller for the most coaching wins in program history, picking up career victory No. 417 at UW-Whitewater in the team’s first game at UW-Oshkosh on April 7. In that same year, he became the youngest inductee into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Vodenlich earned his 400th career victory during the team’s 2014 World Series appearance. The Warhawks knocked off SUNY Cortland (N.Y.) 9-6 to make Vodenlich the second coach in program history to reach the milestone.

Vodenlich has been on the coaching staff for all 12 of UW-Whitewater’s winningest seasons, with 10 of the 12 coming during his time as head coach. During the 2000’s, the Warhawks had the 11th most victories in NCAA Division III.

Off the field, Vodenlich has been honored as the WIAC Coach of the Year eight times, was named the NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2005 and 2014, and was honored as the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2017.

In 2007, Vodenlich was inducted into the UW-Whitewater Athletic Hall of Fame as a former student-athlete and was awarded with the WBCA College Coach of the Year in 2004, 2008 and 2010. He was tabbed the WBCA’s Man of the Year in 2005.

Players coming to play under Vodenlich can expect to grow thanks to his determined player development exertions. Fourteen student-athletes have developed into All-Americans during Vodenlich’s tenure.

Since joining the UW-Whitewater program as a player in 1989 and the coaching staff in 1994, 28 former Warhawks have signed professional contracts, the first being former Major League closer Bob Wickman, who Vodenlich caught at UW-Whitewater.

In addition to his great impact on the game in the United States, Vodenlich also is an internationally known clinician, conducting coaching clinics in Germany, England, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary.

Before joining the coaching ranks, Vodenlich was one of the best players to ever take the field for the Warhawks. Playing from 1989-1992, Vodenlich finished with a .397 career batting average, good for third all-time in school history. His .456 average in 1991 is the second best single season average in program history.

Vodenlich was an ABCA All-American in 1991 and 1992, the first two-time All-American at UW-Whitewater.

Following his collegiate career, Vodenlich went on to play professionally in Europe, winning the Slovenian National Championship in 1994.

Vodenlich joined Jim Miller’s coaching staff as an assistant coach in 1994 and stayed on the staff until 1998, when he was named the head coach at Edgewood College.

Prior to Vodenlich’s tenure at Edgewood, the Eagles had an all-time record of 33-133 and never had seen a winning season.

Vodenlich needed just two seasons to change that, setting a school record for wins in his first season before shattering it the following season, helping Edgewood to its first winning campaign in program history.

Following the 1999 season, Vodenlich returned to UW-Whitewater and rejoined Miller’s staff as an assistant coach.

With Miller’s retirement coming following the 2003 season, the Warhawks didn’t have to look far to find their seventh head coach in school history.

It’s a hire the school certainly hasn’t regretted.

Naming Vodenlich head coach for the 2004 season immediately paid off for the university as the Warhawks set a new school record for wins and made just their second trip to the NCAA Division III College World Series.

Under Vodenlich’s guidance in 2005, UW-Whitewater set a new school record for wins with 45, fewest losses with 7 and made another trip to Appleton for the College World Series. This time around the Warhawks weren’t denied, claiming their first national championship.

UW-Whitewater qualified for the College World Series in 2008 and again in 2011. The Warhawks returned to Appleton in 2014, winning the program’s second-ever NCAA Division III championship to complete the institution’s “trifecta” of national titles during the 2013-14 academic year. The Warhawks’ football, men’s basketball and baseball teams all won national championships to become the first school at any level of the NCAA to win those three titles in the same year.

With a bachelor’s in marketing and public relations from UW-Whitewater in 1992, Vodenlich earned his master’s in business administration from the university in 1994.

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