Former Green Bay Bullfrogs manager Jordan Bischel was recently named the head baseball coach at Central Michigan University (Central Michigan University athletics photo).
BY RICH PALZEWIC
Former Green Bay Bullfrogs manager Jordan Bischel has been a winner every place he has coached, so his latest move shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The 37-year old Bischel, who is a 1999 Notre Dame Academy graduate and played his college ball at St. Norbert, recently accepted the head baseball job at Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, June 28.
The Chippewas play in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and have had just five coaches in the last 65 years.
“Obviously, anyone that knows anything about the Central Michigan baseball program knows that it has a very storied history and has been successful for many decades,” said Bischel in a recent phone interview. “To be chosen to be a part of that and lead that is unbelievably humbling and flattering.”
CMU is 1,968-1,209-13 since 1953 and has reached the NCAA Tournament 13 times, but haven’t done so since 1995. They have won 13 MAC regular-season titles and two MAC Tournament championships since 1973.
“They’ve had some really successful baseball coaches here if you look back,” Bischel said. “As I was going through the whole process, I felt good that I fit the characteristics that they were looking for – I felt confident, but obviously you don’t know from their end. It was very exciting news when I got the call.”
Prior to his being hired at Central, Bischel spent four seasons at Division II Northwood University in Midland, Michigan, where he turned that program around. He helped lead the team to a 137-76 record while there and was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) coach of the year in both 2017 and 2018.
“The biggest thing with Northwood was that a lot of people put their heart and soul into the success of the program,” said Bischel. “I developed some very close relationships with everyone involved, but I also knew walking away that we had created some life-long memories and those weren’t going to go away.”
Northwood had never won a GLIAC title before Bischel arrived, something they did in each of the last two seasons.
He also had much success at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska, where in two seasons, the team was a combined 74-45 under his leadership.
Bischel also managed the Bullfrogs from 2009-12 and the Wisconsin Woodchucks in the Northwoods League.
Bischel said that one of the most important things needed to turn a program around is building chemistry and that family feel – getting the athletes to buy into what is being coached.
“I don’t think what I’ve done in the past has been anything magic,” Bischel laughed. “A lot of it has been accomplished from incredibly hard work from our student-athletes.”
There’s a funny story how Bischel even got started coaching.
“After I graduated from St. Norbert, I actually was an accountant for about 2.5 years,” he said. “My dad was in the business and I’m a numbers guy, so I thought that was going to a field for me. I had helped out one spring at Notre Dame as an assistant coach and loved it. I just realized a couple of years out of college that it was something I wanted to pursue. I basically dropped everything and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and became an assistant coach at John Caroll. I’m sure my parents thought I was a little nuts, but they stayed behind me. They probably thought at some point I’d move back home because I was broke, but I have a passion for it.”
As for Bischel’s days managing the Bullfrogs just a few miles from where he grew up, that was an amazing time in his life.
“To be able to coach in your hometown and then to be able to coach that level of talent was great for my development in my career,” he said. “Seeing how different student-athletes from different programs from across the country operated was very educational. It was a cool experience.”
Editor’s note: It was also recently announced that St. Norbert head baseball coach Tom Winske has resigned in order to accept an assistant coaching position with the Chippewas.
Winske has the most wins in Midwest Conference baseball history, posting a 444-287-1 record in 20 seasons with the Green Knights.