If Brookfield East fans like a positive attitude and enthusiasm, they should be excited about new baseball coach Nicholas Wycklendt.
East athletic director Jeremy Martin announced Wycklendt‘s hiring on Friday. Despite being only 26 years old, Wycklendt brings seven years of coaching experience to the table, including the last two seasons at the head coach at Port Washington of the North Shore Conference.
“He is about everything our coaches stand for,” Martin said of his hiring Wycklendt. “He believes in developing relationships, character and the fact that working with the kids is bigger than baseball.
“He also brought experience and excitement to the job. We (search committee) all saw the same things. Nicholas was our guy. It was all about fit.”
Wycklendt previously was an assistant coach under Brian Durst at Grafton High School for six seasons. In fact, upon graduating from Nicolet, he got into coaching the Blackhawks when he was 19 years old.
“I love the community,” he said when asked what interested him in the position. “They have had success here the last few years, going to state in 2011. I was looking for a new challenge. I figured this would be a good step up and I think I can have a lot of success here.”
Wycklendt feels that his age is a positive when it comes to relating to his athletes.
“It’s a huge positive,” he said. “Kids listen to what I had to say. I fell in love with coaching right away. I feel super blessed to have had that opportunity.”
He has also had the opportunity to coach youth baseball and high school level travel ball with former high school coach Ken Bigler, Jr. of Bigler Baseball Schools and brother of Brookfield Central baseball coach Jeff Bigler.
He has worked Bigler Baseball with both Jeff and Ken and both encouraged him to take the East job.
“I have been fortunate enough to be involved in many different aspects of the game of baseball,” Wycklendt said. “My experiences as a player at both the high school and collegiate levels have allowed me to develop the relationships that I have built with the players I deal with as a coach.
“Team building, learning to deal with adversity, and molding a winning attitude in the minds of players are all ingredients for success that I have experienced firsthand.
“I have also worked youth baseball camps, during which I would help younger players develop fundamentals of the game. This involves a great deal of instruction and interaction with the kids.”
Wycklendt comes from a family involved in sports. His father, Dean Wycklendt, has been involved in sports as a coach and umpire. He coached football and basketball at Nicolet for over 10 years.
His brother, Anthony, played at Northwestern University and then with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has spent the last six seasons in various front office capacities with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“Within the family, baseball is a significant part of our everyday lives and a passion that helps drive us all to succeed in our own respects,” Wycklendt said.
Wycklendt, a lefthanded pitcher, played college ball at St. Norbert University and later on at Marquette University (club baseball). He earned a degree in education with a concentration in history and broad field social studies. He has continued his playing career with the Grafton Land ‘O Lakes Baseball team.
When asked about the biggest transition from assistant to head coach, Wycklendt had an answer ready.
“More paperwork, more responsibility,” he said. “But I can do things I wanted to do as a coach. It’s fantastic to see how kids respond to it.”
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