Schatzle excited for head coach opportunity after years with team

Camden Paeltz | The Chronicle

After 15 years with the program, Eric Schatzle knows his way around Mason volleyball.

Schatzle was officially announced as the new varsity head coach on February 13, replacing Lindsay Dinkelacker who stepped down after two years leading the team. The Comets have won seven consecutive Greater Miami Conference championships.

Schatzle has worked closely with all of the current players, as he has served as Mason’s Junior Varsity coach for 13 years.. He said that this experience with the program will help him continue the team’s culture and make for an easy transition.

“It starts with having a good positive culture and well,” Schatzle said. “It really starts from the younger years where if people believe in the program, that is what it’s all about.”

Schatzle has built relationships with the players and has deep roots with the program. He said that he plans to keep that at the forefront as head coach, and is ready to finally get the chance to lead the varsity team. 

“I’m just a positive energy person, and I have a human-centered approach,” Schatzle said. “I understand that life’s bigger than volleyball. I know the game

very well, but also I think that there’s a lot you learn through the game about all sorts of other aspects of life and especially with team sports, and I feel like I bring that to light through the teams that I coach, so I’m excited to continue to do that.”

Junior Payton Evans, a two-time second-team all-GMC member, has known Coach Schatzle since she was in elementary school going through the Mason youth program. Evans said that she and her teammates know that Schatzle is ready for his new position because of the work he has put in with the program over the years.

“Since he’s been with our program for so long, he knows all of our strengths and he knows us super well,” Evans said. “He’s been on the sideline watching us play them but he hasn’t been there to make the change, and the lineup brought in the practices to help us prepare.”

Evans said that the players have noticed his dedication to the program and are excited that he is getting a chance to lead the team.

“He’s stayed with us for a long time and he’s always been there, and he hasn’t given up on us,” Evans said. “I think that just shows a lot that he cares about us and the team.”

Payton Evans sets up a spike for Katie Helmes. Both started their Mason High School volleyball careers with Schatzle on Junior Varsity.

Schatzle is a teacher at Mason Middle School. He lives in the district and his family is all a part of Mason City Schools. Schatzle said that this close connection to the Mason community makes his new job an even greater opportunity.

“Ultimately, it came down to I wanted to utilize my experience that I’ve had,” Schatzle said. “ I’ve been in a program for a very long time. My kids go to Mason, my wife teaches in Mason, I teach at Mason, so I care about the district, I care about the program and the families and the relationships I’ve made along the way.”

Evans said that Schatzle does a lot in practice to keep the players’ spirits high while also helping them improve, and is looking forward to that continuing despite a coaching change.

“He will run super hard drills that he knows will challenge us but then he will crack a joke or just make it fun,” Evan said. “Sometimes he’ll even start playing with us and start playing in the drill too. He always just finds a way to make the hard stuff fun and just like make us want to be at practices and want to be there.”

The team has won seven straight GMC championships and has not lost a league match since 2015. However, the team has not won a playoff match since 2019.

Schatzle said that he hopes to bring continuity in order to allow the team to take their success even further.

“I’m gonna work endlessly to try again and set us up to be as successful as possible,” Schatzle said. “But it’s about buy-in, it’s paying attention to the little things, sometimes it’s more about routine.”

Photo by Audrey Hunt