After being involved in Marshall baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, Steve Fleck is stepping away from the diamond to put his focus on family.
Over the weekend, Fleck resigned as the Tigers' head baseball coach, ending a four-year run where Marshall went 60-30 and won back-to-back Southwest Conference titles in 2010-11. Fleck also stepped down from teaching fifth-grade math at Marshall Middle School.
Fleck said his family will be relocating to Waconia, where he has family in the area. He also stated that he will not be coaching for the foreseeable future.
Independent file photo
Marshall head baseball coach Steve Fleck, front, looks on during a Section 3A playoff game against New Ulm on May 31. Over the weekend, Fleck stepped down as the Tigers’ head baseball coach after four seasons at the helm.
Fleck has been the Tigers' head coach since 2009, when he replaced Blaine Schnaible. Before then, Fleck worked at the high-school level as an assistant coach for Pat Irsfeld.
"It's bittersweet, it's scary, it's exciting all at the same time," Fleck said. "In the area we're looking at, we'd be about 15 minutes away from my brother, 15 to 20 minutes from a sister, and 25 minutes away from another sister.
"As I contemplated what to do over 20 years in a great community, it was a win-win situation as we saw the opening in Waconia. ... If I get it, great, I'm moving closer to family. And if I don't get it, I still have a great community at Marshall to stay. Right now at this stage of our life, we're moving closer to family."
Fleck becomes the third head coach to leave Marshall in the last month. In early June, boys' hockey coach Kori Pearson and boys' basketball coach Tom Critchley each left. On June 25, MHS filled a coaching vacancy, hiring Pat Johnson as the school's new soccer coach.
Growing up in Regal and playing high school baseball in Paynesville, Fleck arrived in Marshall in the late 80s after transferring from Minnesota State-Mankato, and played three seasons for the Mustangs (1987-89). Since returning to town in the early 90s, Fleck has been involved in several facets of Marshall baseball, including VFW, Legion and the Marshall Area Youth Baseball Association (MAYBA).
"Steve has been an exceptional leader in our baseball program. Through his hard work and dedication to the local MAYBA program, Steve provided a strong link to the youth program in Marshall," Marshall Director of Athletics Bruce Remme said in a press release. "Steve is an outstanding teacher in the classroom as well as the ball field. We will sorely miss his passion for the game and his commitment to baseball in Marshall."
This past spring, Fleck led the Tigers to a 14-6 record, a second-place finish in the conference, a top 10 ranking in Class AA and the No. 1 seed in the Section 3AA-North sub-section. Marshall advanced to the 3AA final four, but was knocked out after consecutive losses to New Ulm and section champion Fairmont.
Leaving the baseball scene in Marshall was an emotional choice for Fleck and his family, but ultimately, he wanted to put his family first.
"I put my heart and soul in everyone that walked through the MAYBA gates, Legion or high school," Fleck said. "And as much as I love that, I have to be honest, I'd love the opportunity to be dad and not Coach Fleck. It's 100 percent my decision, it's about my family and giving my boys (Macrae and Easton) the chance to have dad home a little more."