Former Kent State pitching coach Dick Schoonover died Monday at the age of 81. Schoonover served as an assistant at Kent State in 1986 and 1989, and pitching coach from 1990-96.
"Very few men have lived a life as full as Dick Schoonover," sixth-year Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said in a release. "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."
Schoonover served as an assistant under former Kent State coaches Bob Todd, Danny Hall and Rick Rembielak. During his tenure, the Golden Flashes posted the two best pitching seasons in program history. In 1992, Kent State finished second in the NCAA in team ERA (2.61), and in 1993 the Flashes led the nation with a 2.37 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.
"Dick Schoonover was the most positive person I have ever been around," Hall said. "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."
Added 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."
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