Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Jim Buboltz admits he may be spreading himself a little thin, but he’s not too worried.
In fact, he’s probably classify that chance as “remote.”
Buboltz is the longtime football coach at MVL — 19 years to be exact — and also serves as the dean of students for the high school. Last week, he decided to add the job of head varsity baseball coach.
“I’ll be busy, that’s for sure,” Buboltz said. “But I just felt the timing was right. I love baseball, and I missed being around it so when (athletic director) Craig Morgan asked me if I was interested in the job, I said yes.”
Buboltz replaces John Gunderson, who left MVL to take a teaching position at Bethany Lutheran College. Buboltz will begin his baseball coaching duties next spring.
Before accepting the position, he had to get clearance from his family. He has a wife (Lisa), two grown children (son A.J. and daughter Julia) and youngest daughter (Josie) who enters high school in the fall.
Lisa works at a nursing home in St. Peter and had no problem with Jim wearing another hat. Buboltz said he talked the matter over extensively with his son A.J., who is enrolled at Minnesota State.
“A.J. basically said ‘if you have the energy to do it, then you should do it.’” Buboltz said. “Family always has to come first, but he could see I was passionate about it and it was something I wanted to do.”
Jim Buboltz will be entering his 26th year of teaching/coaching in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod school system. He started out at Lakeside Lutheran in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, where he taught and coached both football and baseball for four years.
He then moved to Nebraska Lutheran in Waco, Nebraska, where he taught and coached football for three more years.
After that he jumped to MVL and took over as football coach. He also had a brief stint as the softball coach.
The former high school, college and amateur baseball player (for Fairfax) doesn’t have much down time. He officiates basketball in the offseason and two years ago, decided to get back into umpiring. He ended up umping 18 high school games this past spring and will continue to ump through the summer.
“I really have a strong connection to baseball and umping reminded me of that,” Buboltz said. “I guess (the MVL administration) thought if I had enough time to ump 18 games I might have enough time to coach the program.”
Morgan said Buboltz was the logical fit for the program.
“Jim has always told me that if I need any help coaching or doing anything that he was willing,” Morgan said. “He has a great understanding of the game and, more importantly, he has a great understanding of the kids.
“He has excellent rapport with them, and he’s very organized. We didn’t have to think very long before we asked him.”
With MVL being such a small school (186 students), Buboltz will end up coaching a lot of the same student athletes in baseball as he does in football. He approached those players to get their opinion on his becoming the baseball coach.
“They were all for it,” he said. “Once I got that vibe from them, I knew the transition would be easy.”
Buboltz plans to retain the same assistant coaching staff — Jeff Schoenherr, John Giefer and Nick Dewanz — that served under Gunderson. Dewanz is also an assistant football coach.
“They’re all dedicated, and they’ve all been good for the program,” Buboltz said. “It makes sense to keep them together.”
As for the time commitment, Buboltz is confident it won’t be a problem.
“My youngest starts high school here in the fall so I’m going to see her everyday anyway. And my wife is probably busier than I am.
“We’ll find a way to make it work.”