Our continuing coverage of National Pro Fastpitch and the Chicago Bandits bring us to former Coach Michael Steuerwald. Like with the other former Chicago Bandits, it was strange, sad and great to see Coach Stu wearing the red of the Scrapyard Dawgs at the Ballpark in Rosemont.
Coach Stu did great things on an off the field here in Chicago. The Bandits won the NPF title three times during his years here. The Bandits also reached the championship series twice.
In addition to coaching the Bandits, he started "Coach's Corner" to raise money to get tickets to kids and underprivileged. I have seen the joy on the faces of so many who would never have been able to see a game. It was a wonderful program.
During the last offseason, as the Bandits underwent a big transition, Coach Stu stepped down and later became Assistant GM with the Dawgs. With no disrespect to anyone, it was a big disappointment to see this transpire.
Life goes on though. Sharonda McDonald is the new manager for the Bandits and Coach Stu is embracing his new position with he Dawgs with no bitterness. Of course, I expected nothing less from him, as he is a class act.
Coach Stu does have some familiar faces with the Dawgs. Former Bandits Monica Abbott, Brittany Cervantes, Amanda Kamekona, Morgan Foley and Taylor Edwards all found their way to The Woodlands.
At the time of this writing, the Dawgs are solidly in 2nd place in the NPF. There are still about 15 games to play, but the Dawgs look to be a safe bet to make the playoffs.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Coach Stu in the dugout before game three of their recent series here. The Dawgs took the first 2, but would go on to lose the final game after our interview. Still, it was a successful series for the Dawgs.
I talked to Coach Stu about being on the other side, his thoughts on Houston, his highlights from his Chicago years, playing against his former team (the Bandits) and against his former coach (Roman Foore with the Texas Charge) and other fun topics. It was a bittersweet interview.
I want to publicly thank Coach Stu for all he did with the Bandits and in the community. I also want to thank him for always treating me well, for always having time to chat and for being a friend! It was a great experience covering his teams. It was great to see him and I have to even admit, he looks good in red.