Young coaches at the high school level don’t tend to stick around at one school.
Coaching takes them from one town to the other as they move up in responsibility, get promoted, or take jobs at larger schools.
But not Marion’s Tim Tesch.
The Bulldogs head baseball coach is extremely unusual in the coaching world, in that he got to Marion before he was finished with college — and he’s never left.
This year Tesch is heading into his 11th season at the school.
“People always ask why I’ve stayed,” Tesch said. “We have beautiful facilities, great kids and an administration that’s very supportive of athletics. It’s just one of those things. If it fits for the family, and things are going well. Why leave?”
Tesch, 33, has been involved in baseball from a young age.
“I started playing baseball when I was about two or three years old,” Tesch said. “I played little league and just kept it going on up through high school.”
Growing up in Victoria, he attended one of the largest high schools in the state, Memorial Consolidated, where he was a two-sport athlete, playing baseball and football.
A pitcher on the baseball team, he did not throw hard, but had some pitches to work with.
“I didn’t have the big arm, but I had about four pitches I could work in and out, I would say that I was a finesse pitcher,” Tesch said.
The mental side of the game appealed to him the most.
“It was a thinking man’s game, you had to strategize,” he said. “Growing up, it was the whole persona of baseball that set me on that path.”
An all-around athlete, he also started at wide receiver and defensive back on Consolidated’s football team and played tennis while there.
“That was back in the old days,” Tesch said. “I’m not that anymore.”
Growing up without a father, he was naturally drawn to the coaches of the sports he played, and decided that coaching was what he wanted to do.
“I was raised by my mom and my grandmother, so the coaches were kind of like a father to me,” Tesch said. “I wanted that, and I wanted to give that back to the kids that were kind of like me. I realized early that the game of football and of baseball were much bigger than winning and losing, and so I knew early that that was what I was going to preach for my career.”
Tesch walked on at Texas State his freshman year in college, but played just one year.
“A little injury set me back, so I didn’t get the opportunity to play,“ Tesch said. “It was a different level, so after my freshman year I didn’t step on the field.”
But his love of the game kept him on the path to being a coach at the school, where he earned a degree in exercise and sports science.
Interactions with coaches at the school in his degree plan kept Tesch motivated.
“We took football classes where we sat down with Texas State coaches and talked football,” he said. “We took classes on athletic training and everything that had to do with exercise and learning the body and how it operated. It was awesome.”
It was before he graduated in 2009 that he showed up at Marion.
“I student taught in the spring of 2009 at Marion and ran the freshman baseball team,” Tesch said. He got the job offer from former Marion coach and athletic director Glenn Davis that same year, and worked with longtime coach Jason Fox for the Bulldogs.
Of course, when you have the success that he’s had with the baseball program, there have been offers to coach elsewhere.
“I would be lying to you if I said I haven’t had any offers,” Tesch said. “But as I said, if it doesn’t fit with my family and my two boys, I’m not going to take that opportunity. If I was mentoring young coaches, I would tell them you need put in at least five or six years at your first job. That’s why the phone calls come every summer, they know that I’m not just going to go and show up for one year and just leave.”
The success of the baseball program at Marion is almost unbelievable, as the Bulldogs had a string of 13 years in a row of district championships when Tesch took over head coaching duties six years ago.
“We were on a 21-year playoff run, so I had big shoes to fill,” Tesch said. “I think now it’s 26 years in a row. We’ve had great teams and great players come through here.”
Under coach Tesch, the 2013 team made the regional finals before falling to state champion Halletsville, and two years ago another playoff run was ended in the third round by state finalist Gateway.
“At a small school everything comes in waves, but we’ve always been consistent here talent-wise to keep the playoff run going,” Tesch said.
He credits kids coming in ready to play, with years of experience in little league and on summer travel teams before they get to him.
“We have a great little league program here in Marion,” Tesch said. “But once they end little league, our location is so central, between Seguin, New Braunfels, Schertz, Cibolo, and San Antonio, that’s there’s a plethora of select teams they can choose from.”
By the time they are freshmen, they are veterans of competitive baseball.
“Just last year, we had 15 or 16 freshmen that can play,” Tesch said. “In two years, when those guys are juniors, you’re looking at a great class. I’m big on if you can play, you can play, that it doesn’t matter if you are a freshman or a senior.”
Kids coming to the Bulldogs are aware of the success of the team over the last two decades or more.
“If they put on a Marion hat, they know the tradition here,” Tesch said. “Those guys know they are going to play for Marion and they take pride in it.”
The turf fields at Marion, put in after a third attempt at passing a school bond three years ago, has contributed to the success of the program, he said.
“The old saying that ‘if you build it they will come’ has held true,” Tesch said. “Everybody wants to play baseball at Marion because of that facility.”
Seeing the kids in his program that have grown up is his favorite part of coaching.
“After they graduate, two years down the road, they call me to have dinner and they tell me how their life is,” Tesch said. “You get to watch them grow up and I’ve had a number of kids like that. “It’s a great feeling to do that and to know that you are actually making a difference in those guys lives — to me that’s the best part of it. I have two boys of my own, but when you’re coaching, you have 100 kids that you call sons.”