KENT, Ohio - The Kent State University Athletics Department and extended baseball family mourns the loss of Richard Schoonover, who passed away Monday (Dec. 7). Schoonover, 81, served as an assistant coach at Kent State on 1986 and 1989 and pitching coach from 1990-1996.
“Very few men have lived a life as full as Dick Schoonover,” sixth-year Kent State baseball head coach Scott Striklin said. “He loved his family and he loved the game of baseball. Everyone who had the privilege of knowing him loved and respected him. He was one of the finest people I have ever met and he will be dearly missed.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife JoAnn and his entire family.”
Schoonover first served the Golden Flashes as an assistant coach under former head coach Bob Todd. He followed Todd to Ohio State for the 1988 season, but returned to Kent State for the 1989 season and was the Golden Flashes pitching coach for the next seven seasons on the staffs of both Danny Hall from 1989-1993 and Rick Rembielak from 1994-96.
During his time with the Golden Flashes, the Kent State pitching staffs recorded the best seasons in program history. In 1992, KSU finished second in the NCAA in overall team ERA (2.61) and ranked first in the country in team ERA (2.37) during the 1993 campaign. Under his tutelage at KSU, three pitchers were named All-Americans by the American Baseball Coaches Association (Dustin Hermanson and Mike Nartker in 1993, Ted Rose in 1996). Schoonover mentored 12 All-Mid-American Conference pitchers, eight Mid-East Regional Team selections, six MAC Pitchers of the Year, four Kent State Varsity “K” Hall of Fame pitchers and three first round draft selections, including the third pick overall in 1994 (Hermanson).
Schoonover also served as pitching coach in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer Baseball League in 1994-96, 1998 and 2003. During the summer of ’03, the Bourne Braves recorded the league’s lowest ERA.
The Akron native also is well known as pitching coach in the international circles. In the summer of 1989, Schoonover was selected to coach in the Netherlands for six months. During the fall of 1989, the U.S. Sports Information Service asked him to teach pitching to coaches and players in four major Nicaraguan cities. In the fall of 1991, Schoonover returned to Nicaragua, working with the country’s Olympic team as well as instructing in clinics for coaches and players.
Most recently, Schoonover served as pitching coach and consultant for the Dick Schoonover Academy of Pitching Instruction and Professional Consulting. He was also inducted into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame, the Akron Baseball Hall of Fame and was a Dapper Dan honoree.
Visitation will be Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Redmon Funeral Home at 3633 Darrow Road in Stow, Ohio. Rev. Arthur Cubbon will conduct service Friday, 2 p.m. at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 3725 Kent Road, Stow, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Stewart’s Caring Place, 2955 W. Market Street, Akron, OH 44333 or St. Stephen Lutheran Church.
Former Kent State baseball coach Danny Hall: “Dick Schoonover was the most positive person I have ever been around. Even though he has passed away, his legacy will live on forever just because of the lives he has touched. In particular for me, he has had a major influence on my coaching career. Any success I was able to enjoy at Kent State, he deserves much of the credit. He did a tremendous job not only with the pitching staff, but he made a better person out of anyone that came in to contact with him. He is definitely going to be missed but his legacy will live on forever. Between he and his brother Hal, they have done so much for the baseball program at Kent State in particular as a coach and their donation to upgrade the facilities. He has contributed a lot to Kent State baseball over the years.”
Former Kent State baseball coach Rick Rembielak: “The first thought that I had after his passing is that I never met a more positive person. It was never about him but the other person, even his passing. He always got the most out of every player by making them feel as if they were the best person in the world. He had that golden touch.”
Kent State athletic director Laing Kennedy: “Dick Schoonover to me represents the heart and soul of any great program. His relationship with me personally, when I first became athletic director, was very helpful and supportive. As I got to know him, I understood his tremendous knowledge about intercollegiate baseball and in particular pitching.”