Woitas, Weier to be inducted in coaches Hall of Fame

NEW ULM – Two local baseball icons will be induced into the Minnesota State Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in October.

Bruce Woitas, who coaches Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s, and Bob Weier, who coaches New Ulm Cathedral, are the inductees who will be honored on October 25 at a banquet at the Ramada Inn located in Minneapolis. They will join four others, including Minnesota Twins General Manager Terry Ryan.

“This is a nice recognition from the advisory group and it recognizes all the years that you have been coaching high school baseball,” Woitas said. “This is pretty humbling. There are a lot of coaches who are in the Hall so it is pretty humbling.”

Stan Wilfahrt of New Ulm Cathedral, Jim Senske of New Ulm High School, Don Boelter of Sleepy Eye Public, Al Gisvold of Springfield and Howard Schmidtke of St. James are some of the local coaches in the Hall of Fame.

Woitas played baseball at Minnesota Lake High School before graduating from Mankato State University and coached legion baseball for a year in Minnesota Lake before beginning his career at St. Mary’s.

“As a coach your goal is to win a [state] championship,” Woitas said. “That never happened for me as a player. As a coach you want to teach the kids to be good citizens and role models. I think that we have been pretty successful with that.”

Woitas led St. Mary’s to four Class A state titles – 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007. Woitas also feels that is special that himself and Weier are both being recognized.

“That is pretty neat that we have two coaches from this area going into the Hall of Fame in the same year,” Woitas said. “It goes to show the level of baseball that is played in this area of the state.”

Woitas said he wants to thank Jerry Neubauer for the chance to be head coach.

“Dave Freitag was the head coach back then and I was an assistant,” Woitas said. “I am now in my 25th year as head coach and I grateful that he gave me the chance.”

Like Woitas, Weier said being selected is humbling.

“This is something that I really did not expect,” Weier said. “I really do not get into this business with that in mind.”

Weier also wanted to thank New Ulm Junior Baseball and the legion program.

“They get the kids started here and the VFW and Legion programs that keep them playing,” Weier said. “It is good situation to be in here in New Ulm.”

Weier is coaching his high school alma mater at Cathedral and in 2005 won the state Class A championship.

“Coaching at Cathedral was an oppprtunity that presented itself some 20 years ago and i was fortunate enough to be selected to coach,” Weier said.

He added that he owes a lot to his high school coach Stan Wilfahrt, for whom he played from 1966-68.

“He taught me a lot about the game of baseball – I have taken a lot of things from him and tried to add some of my own flavor to it,” Weier said. “Some of the things that I took was his passion for the game. He was adamant that you played the game of baseball the correct way.”

Weier also thanks his wife, Betty, for her continued support over the years.

“I want to send my congratulations to Bruce on his selection,” Weier said. “It is kind of nice that two coaches from the same conference are going into the Hall in the same year. Bruce is a pretty dedicated person in Sleepy Eye. I think that this speaks well for the conference and the area as far as baseball goes.”

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