2008 Meritorious: Myron Schroeder

Myron Schroeder

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Myron’s involvement in the sport of softball stretches across numerous age divisions, gender categories, coaching levels, director classifications and player competitions, while also dotted with numerous firsts that scrape across five decades of softball participation.

During this period, raising a finger of “We are #1” has become his consistent trademark dating back to his first participation in Bloomington’s Men’s Fast Pitch League in 1967, while also participating in Bloomington’s first 12-inch slow pitch league.

After playing for numerous first place league teams, he began coaching the slow pitch game in the fall of 1974 with a competitive team named The Gas House Gang, which finished first in many league and tournament competitions. During this period, he began to direct fundraising tournaments to support the team. This led to him directing the Midwest Softball Festival each spring in Normal, prior to directing Bloomington’s first slow pitch fall league in 1978, which was highlighted by the first central Illinois All-Star Game being held.

In 1984, he played in his first USSSA state qualifier at Lincoln. His enjoyment of the USSSA game led to him becoming Bloomington-Normal’s first area director in 1985.

Three years later in 1988, he directed the first Men’ Master’s State Tournaments (40 and 35 & Over) at Bartonville’s Alpha Park. His Fox’s Sports team (40 & Over) became the first USSSA State Master’s Champions, resulting in them becoming Illinois’s first representative at a Men’s Master’s World Tournament event where they defeated the defending world champions.

Two years later, he guided a much younger Fox’s Sports team to Illinois’s first USSSA Youth World Tournament Championship in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This premiere team in 1990 was the beginning of the Team Illinois Youth Softball Association, which has captured six World and five National titles and with whom he has earned several All-World, All-National and All-State coaching honors.

In 1994, he was awarded the USSSA State Director’s Award and in 1995 became the first recipient of the USSSA Boy’s National Award for his contributions to the USSSA youth program.

In 1996, he organized Illinois’s first USSSA registered girl’s fast pitch team, LeRoy Hardees, which attended the first USSSA Girl’s Fast Pitch World Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas. There the team finished fourth in the 16 & Under division. This team’s success inspired him to direct Illinois’s first USSSA Girl’s Fast Pitch Tournament in Clinton in June of 1997. He continued to direct fast pitch tournaments until 2003, before focusing his efforts toward creating his hometown’s first middle school program at Tri-Valley while serving as their first coach.

As a player, his defensive speed and offensive ability to hit to all fields landed him on many of central Illinois’s most competitive teams prior to playing on several excellent men’s master’s teams. With these master’s teams he earned All-State and All-National honors. During his playing tenure he roamed the outfield for many seasons before to moving to the pitching circle.

As a coach, he presently has accumulated nearly 2,100 softball victories, including nearly 800 at the youth level and nearly 300 youth baseball wins. At the softball scholastic level, since 2002, his teams have compiled an impressive 160-63 record for Tri-Valley and Blue Ridge High School team captured the school’s first IHSA regional softball title and advanced to the school’s first “Sweet 16” appearance in any sport.

There is little doubt when it comes to providing opportunities and creating team success stories that Myron comes in first.

Illinois Executive State Director Brenda Paulson summed up Myron’s contributions to the Illinois program, “Myron is the first director I appointed in the Girl’s Fast Pitch Program and Boy’s Slow Pitch Program. His tournaments were second to none and always kept the players’ best interests in mind. Myron also is the first director to step up and take on more responsibility if needed. I’m still hoping he will find the time to run more of those awesome State Tournaments.”

In July, Myron was informed that he had been selected to the Boys’ Softball National Hall of Fame. He will be inducted in July 2009 in Cookeville, Tennessee.

Myron says, “No one ever gets to the Hall of Fame by themselves.” He credits all of his success to a supporting family, great teammates, terrific assistant coaches and countless talented players.

Myron believes the Illinois USSSA program has provided his teams with countless opportunities and through their guidance has allowed him to join many of Illinois’s finest in their Hall of Fame.