Brookfield native builds top NCAA Division III baseball program
Not everyone can hit the ground running at a new job like Bill Kurich did.
Kurich, a Brookfield native, coached Webster University baseball to a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in 2007 and was named the league’s Coach of the Year. The Fenwick alumnus has helped the Gorloks, a Division III program in St. Louis, win the SLIAC title every year since.
“When I took over I had a pretty good group of talented players,” Kurich said. “Great kids, very tough kids that wanted to win and wanted to change their program.”
Since that first year, Kurich has led the Gorloks to six more SLIAC titles and the team has finished fifth in Division III each of the past two seasons. Webster won a school-record 37 games this spring – not bad for a program that didn’t win 10 games in a season until 1999.
“We were fortunate to have some success right away and obviously it snowball from there,” Kurich said. “The more you win, the easier the recruiting gets. We’ve got a great institution, a very good academic institution.”
Another factor in recruiting has been Kurich’s ties to the Chicago area. After starting in Little League in Brookfield and continuing at Fenwick, Kurich’s first coaching job was as an assistant at Concordia University in River Forest. He recruits the area regularly and nine players on this spring’s roster were from the Chicago area.
“I know the area up there and one of the things that’s nice about bringing kids from Chicago to St. Louis is it’s not a great distance,” Kurich said. “Four and a half hours away, but it’s four and a half hours in the right direction. It’s 12, 13 degrees warmer on any given day in the spring.”
For all of his success, Kurich doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. Despite outside interest, he has stayed put so far.
“I think this is going to be where we stay,” Kurich said. “Eventually, we’re going to win the College World Series here and obviously, that’s something we want to attain. Obviously, family comes into play. I’ve got a wife and three kids so they’re in school. We love St. Louis, we like it down here and we plan on staying here for a long time.”