Coaching three sports was too much, even for Perryville coach Dustin Wengert.
Wengert has decided to step away from the diamond in the spring after two years at the head of the Perryville baseball program. The veteran coach will still coach softball in the fall and boys basketball in the winter at the school.
“As any coach will tell you coaching one sport is hard and then when you add two sports it becomes even more difficult,” Wengert said. “Then if you’re insane you try to do three. It was talked about already when I took the softball position that eventually something had to give. Now is the time.”
Along with the improvement in his sanity, Wengert noted that family was also a big factor in his decision to step away.
“It’s time for me to be a dad,” Wengert said. “I’ve got two young boys at home, who have sacrificed a lot of time away from me, while I’m at games and practices. That was priority number one and then it became work and no longer fun anymore.”
Wengert combined to go 25-19-1 in his pair of seasons at the head of the baseball program, which included a JCAA conference championship in 2018.
Wengert said that he will miss coaching the team and guiding them through a season.
“Baseball is the sport that I grew up on and went to college and played,” Wengert said. “I will miss the game days, but even when I spent some time at Notre Dame and was away from coaching, I missed the planning and the instruction. With baseball it’s a lot of repetitive stuff, so gamedays are fun because you get to use your brain. You’re trying to outwit the next opponent.”
Moving away from the baseball program was a difficult choice for Wengert as he decided which of his three coaching hats to hand up. But he felt has if he was doing a disservice to the baseball program, making that decision easier.
“Basketball is such a demanding sport with all the prep and film work that I was putting in that when it came to getting the baseball team ready for the season, I wasn’t there because I will still in basketball season,” Wengert said. “Where it took most teams two weeks to get going , it took us literally until the middle of the season to be in that mid-season form that I wanted us to be.”
Even though Wengert has now stepped away from the diamond, he is still busy with softball and basketball, sports which are already in full swing with their summer schedules. The Lady Pirates have already played two games in a summer league in Cape Girardeau, winning both contests. The basketball team will depart within the next week for a tournament in the Lake of the Ozarks.
The softball team won its first district title since 2001 last fall, while the basketball team finished at 14-13.
“I enjoy coaching both genders and I think there is a bind there with those girls,” Wengert said. “I’ve had people on the outside looking in that there is just something different about the program and that is a big confidence boost for me and the girls.”