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Former Greendale ball players propose renaming school district's diamond

March 5, 2014

Greendale — Former Greendale High School baseball players proposed renaming the soon-to-be-opened Brinkman 1 field in honor of their Panthers coach at a School Board meeting Monday.

The field, which has been in the process of renovation, is scheduled to be open in time for the Panthers' summer baseball season.

The former players, now residents throughout Southeast Wisconsin, submitted a written formal request to the board to re-name the field, "Robin Schrank Field."

Schrank was the head baseball coach for the high school for 20 years and an educator for 33 years. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

"He was a teacher outside of the classroom," said Rob Stoltz, who presented the formal request to the board. "Coach Schrank demanded our best, day in and day out."

Stoltz is the high school's head football coach and one of Schrank's former student baseball players.

"The demands of discipline and precision were the two primary bases for any conversation as to why Greendale became the starting point for any conversation involving Wisconsin high school baseball," Stoltz said.

During his Greendale coaching career, Schrank's teams posted a record of 375-226, averaging more than 18 wins per season, according to the hall of fame website. Under Schrank's coaching, the Panthers won six conference titles, made eight sectionals and made five trips to the state tournament — winning state titles in 1980, 1987 and 1995.

"While the success of his team is nearly unparallel to any coach in the annals of high school baseball in Wisconsin, it was always the conviction, the credibility and the passion that can only be described as palpable, which emanated from our coach that completely endeared him to us," Stoltz said. "He is more revered by his players than any coach I have ever seen."

The next step in the renaming process is the creation of an ad-hoc committee to consider the nomination before making a recommendation to the School Board at a future date, Superintendent John Tharp said.

"Anyone who ever played for coach Schrank absolutely knows this is the right thing to do," Stoltz said later. "He was the kind of coach where you didn't have to wait until adulthood to realize what a great teacher he was; you knew it when you were still on the team."

Brinkman 2, the girls softball field, would remain dedicated to Greendale's first village president, George Brinkman.

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