All-Area Baseball COY: Central's John Staab
Why he’s Coach of the Year: The Maroons started out the season with 17 straight wins before breaking the single-season record for victories with a 2-1 triumph at Bloomington on May 17. Staab helped Central win its first Big 12 title since 2006 — that team owned the previous single-season record for wins at 30 — before the Maroons claimed the program’s first regional title since 1993 with a 2-1 win against Centennial on May 31. Central closed its season with a 2-0 loss to Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin in a Class 3A sectional semifinal game on June 2, but not before the Maroons finished the best season in school history with a 35-3 record. SH-G went on to play for the 3A state title.
Season highlight: “Tough to pick a single moment from our record-setting season, so I will cite a few. Coming from 10 runs down against a talented Indiana Area team from Pennsylvania to win on our last day of our spring break trip at Myrtle Beach; clinching a tie of the Big 12 title by winning at Bloomington in thrilling fashion as we cut down the potential game-tying run at the plate to end the game; clinching the Big 12 title outright with a come-from-behind win at Urbana; winning the school’s first regional championship since 1993. Moreover, just being around a special group of players and coaches who were truly, as one of our assistant coaches aptly describes, a band of brothers.”
A few of my favorites: Anything grilled and cheesy potatoes ... Dos Reales ... Tom Hanks ... Derek Jeter ... Last text sent to my wife, Erin ... First job was walking beans ... Role models are my parents, Jim and Rosie Staab, my in-laws, Steve and Jan Hancock, and my high school baseball coach, Marv Thelen ... Sport I’d like to try is football. My high school didn’t offer football, so I didn’t get a chance to play. Rarely have I ever heard someone speak negatively of their high school football experience. ... I’m driving a 2003 Ford F-150 pickup ... Just read “One Shot at Forever,” about small-town Macon’s improbable 1971 run at an IHSA state baseball title when there was only one class. Not sure it is my favorite, but I enjoyed it and highly recommend it to the sports enthusiast in central Illinois.
Three things on his bucket list: Take my family to Yellowstone, attend a World Series game at Wrigley Field and get back to the farm to help with harvest.
If I weren’t coaching, I’d be ... possibly pursuing a doctorate in history.
About Coach Staab: “Coach Staab is very passionate about the game. He is very committed to our program and is always organized. He’s just a great coach who loves the game and loves all the players. He puts the time in. It’s just how he’s like a dad to us. When we won regionals, it was amazing to see how emotional he got. It shows you how much he cares about us. Throughout the season when we were winning, he told us to treat every game just like it’s a normal game. Being in this program for four years, there were times where we struggled, but it was an awesome year. I’m going to miss him. He was a funny guy and would joke around with us and make us laugh during practices. When it came down to game time, he would get serious, but he was just a great guy.” — Central senior Alec Altmyer