It takes a long time for any coach to accumulate 400 wins. But Whiteoak baseball coach Chris Veidt had to wait a little longer than he thought to savor the moment.
After last season was cancelled due to COVID-19, Veidt’s 400th win came on April 1 this year in a 14-1 Wildcat victory over Georgetown.
Veidt, 56 and in his 30th year at the helm of the Whiteoak baseball program, said he not only knew about the milestone before the Georgetown game, but before last season was wiped out by the virus as well as coming into the current season when he was two wins away from reaching a plateau few reach.
“There was a lot of time on everybody’s hands with not having a season,” he said. “People had reminded me from time to time… so it wasn’t a big surprise and it was kind of strange waiting an entire year for it.”
Veidt said that while previous accomplishments, such as the team’s 2018 appearance in the state tournament, were achieved by people playing, this latest accomplishment was “just everybody.” He said 400 wins has a different feeling than other milestones.
“It’s more overarching to me than that single event in 2018,” Veidt said. “But it’s just as emotional. It’s very humbling and, you know, being at a high school, things like this aren’t possible if you don’t have great assistant coaches, which I’ve been blessed with through the years, a supportive wife, family, my daughter, very supportive. Again, I can’t give other people enough credit for allowing it to happen. I hope to do it for a long time. Just because I love where I’m at, love the game and I love teaching kids.”
Veidt said his biggest accomplishment is “to see it all come to fruition, from start to finish.” One of his assistant coaches, D.J. O’Cull, was even on one of his first teams.
“Just where we were and where we are,” Veidt said.
He also spoke of other accomplishments, such as the multiple times his teams have been ranked in the state and multiple Southern Hills League/Southern Hills Athletic Conference championships.
Under Veidt, Whiteoak has won league/conference titles in 1999, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010 2013, 2018 and 2019.
In tournament play, sectional championships came in 1998, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. There were district championships in 2013 and 2018, and school’s lone regional baseball crown in 2018.
However, Veidt specifically said some of the accomplishments that stood out among the others were the two gold balls for undefeated seasons in league play, the Wildcats’ No. 1 ranking in the state in the final poll in the 2018 season, winning district and regional tournaments, and then going to the final four in 2018.
Veidt said he got his coaching start while student teaching at Wilmington College when he also served as an assistant coach. He was an assistant coach five years for the Quakers. During four of those years, Brooks Lawrence, a Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer, was the coach. While coaching with him, Veidt said that Lawrence “reinforced the love that I had for the game.”
Then he saw the Whiteoak position in a college newsletter, applied, and was hired for the job.
“I’ve been there ever since and thank goodness,” he said. “I’m telling you, the people, the community, the facilities we have now, the administrative support; it’s a special place. It really is.”
Veidt said that coaching at Whiteoak is the “best job in the world.” That includes the baseball side as well as the life lessons he’s been able to pass along.
“One of the biggest things is, besides the work ethic involved daily, just the fail factor,” he said. “I mean, you’re gonna fail, and there’s gonna be adversity. Obviously, no matter how fortunate you are in life, you’re gonna be confronted with something at some point in time and to me, there is no greater sport that teaches how to deal with failure and adversity than baseball.”
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.