Casey Klunder, Chance Key

Waverly-Shell Rock coach Casey Klunder, right, congratulates junior second baseman Chance Key after Key hit a first-inning triple to right-center field during a Class 3A, Substate 2 semifinal against Humboldt on Monday, July 19, 2021, at Harms Stadium at Hertel Field.

Longtime Waverly-Shell Rock baseball coach Casey Klunder has accepted an offer to become the next head baseball coach at Central College. 

Klunder confirmed the move to Waverly Newspapers on Tuesday afternoon. 

“There were a lot of tears shed in making this decision,” Klunder said by phone. “We’ve invested a lot into the school, the baseball program and the community. The fond memories that we have made this tougher, but we’re excited about the new opportunities in front of us as well.

“It was a tough decision. We love Waverly-Shell Rock. My memories of Waverly-Shell Rock and living in Waverly will only be looked upon fondly, and that made it tough. Made it tough to leave family and friends. But for our family, we felt like this was the best move at this time.”

Klunder interviewed for the position at Central on Friday, was offered the job Saturday and accepted it Sunday. The process was fluid throughout, he said.

“My wife (Kayla) and I went to Pella and we enjoyed our time,” Klunder said. “And we graciously accepted the offer and we’re excited about the opportunity to move to Pella.”

Klunder has been the Go-Hawks’ head coach since 2006. Over his 16 seasons at the helm of the program, Klunder crafted a career record of 386-185. He led the Go-Hawks to their first Class 3A Iowa High School Athletic Association state championship on Aug. 1, 2015. Klunder was named the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association State Coach of the Year that season.

Under Klunder’s direction, W-SR won eight Northeast Iowa Conference championships and appeared in the IHSBCA rankings in 14 straight seasons. Klunder was an IHSBCA all-star coach in 2016 and 2016, and coached 44 college players.

Klunder was a volunteer assistant coach at Luther College from 2012-14 and at Wartburg College in 2021 and 2007-08.

Klunder replaces Matt Schirm, who resigned in June after seven seasons with the Dutch.

“Casey has extensive head coaching experience, a track record of consistent success on the field and is tremendously organized,” Central athletics director Eric Van Kley said in a statement. “But the thing that stands out about him is his ability to build relationships and the value he places on connecting with his players, as well as helping them develop on and off the field.”

Central went 14-27 last season. It posted a 24-16 record in 2019 and won the American Rivers Conference title in 2012.

W-SR AD Greg Bodensteiner said he hopes to have the next baseball coach in place by September.