Wichert selected as new baseball coach


Fort Hays State director of athletics Curtis Hammeke has announced the hiring of Justin Wichert as the 16th head baseball coach at FHSU.

“I am both grateful and excited for the opportunity to lead the Tiger baseball program,” said Wichert. “I want to thank Curtis Hammeke and everyone involved in allowing me to become part of the FHSU Athletics family.

“We will work relentlessly to build the program and its culture, both on and off the field. Our team will show up everyday with energy, passion, dedication, determination and pride.”

Wichert comes to Hays after a four-season stint as head coach at Trinidad State College in Trinidad, Colo. The Stillwater, Okla. native led the Trojans to a record of 112-83 from 2019 until 2022, including two trips to the postseason. His squad reached the Region IX title game this last season and hosted the 2019 regional tournament before playing in the district tournament that year. The Trojans won the Empire Conference Championship in Wichert’s first year at the helm.

“We believe Coach Wichert’s character traits, work ethic and coaching background align well with the type of leadership needed for our baseball program,” said Hammeke. “His passion for coaching and developing young men on and off the field will be felt by all associated with the program.”

The Trojans posted a 44-17 record this past season while ranking third in NJCAA Division I with a team batting average of .388. His players earned nine All-Region IX honors in 2022, including Pitcher of the Year Isaac Gallegos and Freshman of the Year Benji Suave.

Wichert’s squad earned recognition as an NJCAA Academic Team of the Year in 2020 and 2021 while 19 individuals earned NJCAA All-Academic Honors (three 1st team, 10 2nd team, six 3rd team).

Before starting his head coaching career at TSC, Wichert served four years as assistant coach at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith (2015-18). The Lions won a DII-era-record 35 games in 2017 before finishing runner-up in the NCAA DII South Central Regional that same season.

No stranger to the MIAA, Wichert previously coached at Pittsburg State University in 2013. As pitching coach, he helped the Gorilla staff post its best ERA in 15 years that season. Before that he served three seasons as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (2010-12). Wichert helped the Golden Norsemen to a pair of conference championships (2010 Bi-State Champions, 2012 OCAC Champions) and a Region II runner-up finish in 2011 while coaching All-American pitcher Keaton Hernandez.

During the summers, Wichert coached with the Laramie Colts of the Mountain Collegiate Baseball League (2009), Weyburn Beavers of the Western Major Baseball League (2010) and with the Myrtle Beach Shore Eagles (2012).

Several of Wichert’s former players were either drafted or signed with big league organizations, including MLB All-Star Blake Treinen and current minor leaguers Jake Jewell and Logan Allen.

A right-handed pitcher in his playing days, Wichert played two seasons at Cowley Community College in 2002-03 before he was drafted in the 44th round of the 2003 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. He then went on to pitch at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. from 2004-06, earning second team all-conference accolades in 2004 while helping the Cardinals to a program-record 47 wins that year.

He then played two seasons at the professional level after graduating, spending the 2006 season with the Kansas City (Kan.) T-Bones and the 2007 season with the Port Charlotte (Fla.) Redfish. While playing professional baseball he played under many great managers including Cecil Fielder, Jackie Hernandez and Al Gallagher.

Wichert earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from William Jewell in 2006 before completing a master’s degree in Health, Human Performance and Recreation from Pittsburg State in 2012. He and his wife, Susie, have three children.

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