MARYVILLE, Mo. — Hans Plackemeier has had a busy month.
A week after the 2004 Maryville High School graduate was confirmed as the school’s next head baseball coach at the district’s June 17 meeting, Plackemeier and his wife, Whitney, welcomed their second child into the world June 24.
Now the coach, who hasn’t slept more than about three consecutive hours in a week, is attempting to chart a path forward for Maryville’s program amid the COVID-19 pandemic while balancing the responsibilities that come with his newborn daughter and 4-year-old son at home.
Plackemeier, it seems, is enjoying every minute of it.
“It’s been amazing,” Plackemeier said, recalling the two-weeks of events that led him to where he is now. “I mean, I get to be the head coach at the school that I graduated from and I just had a baby. A little girl. She’s healthy. It really couldn’t be better right now.”
Weeks ago, after former coach Carson Riedel’s resignation was accepted in early June, Plackemeier said he started preparing for the events that led to his hiring. After serving as the head coach at West Nodaway before transitioning to Maryville as an assistant coach under Riedel in 2017, Plackemeier was sure he wanted the job at his alma mater.
Plackemeier, who works at Maryville’s Kawasaki plant, grew tired of the back-and-forth drive to Burlington Junction during his time at West Nodaway with a family at home. When an assistant coaching position opened up at Maryville, he made the leap.
“It was just meant to be, I thought,” Plackemeier said.
After Reidel’s departure left a vacancy at the helm of Maryville’s program, Plackemeier, who played college ball at a trio of community colleges in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa, said he was eager to apply.
With his resume ready to go, Plackemeier said he kept waiting for the job opening to pop up on the district’s website, checking back often to see if it had appeared. When he finally saw the opening, he said, he sent his application as fast as he could.
“I wanted to be the first one to apply,” he said.
Maryville Athletics Director Mat Beu said there were a host of other applicants, but from the start, it seems, he knew which one he wanted. Beu said Plackemeier’s connection to school and to the community stood out, as did the relationships he had already formed with the athletes on the roster. Plackemeier’s familiarity with the program was important, Beu said, particularly amid the pandemic.
“He’s really built a great rapport with (the athletes) over the last three years,” Beu said. “We just thought that that would be a very smooth transition for a guy who’s heavily invested in the success of Spoofhound baseball.”
“We’ll be going into a year where there’s a tremendous amount of question marks regarding sports at every level,” Beu added. “If you can create stability for young people — a familiar face, somebody that they trust — that’s incredibly valuable at this point in time.”
Beu said he would love for Plackemeier to be a longterm solution at the helm of the baseball program, which has seen somewhat of a revolving door of coaches over the last decade or so. And Plackemeier, it seems, is already thinking ahead.
The newly-hired coach is making plans for the spring, as much of the world waits to see what the spring will even look like. Plackemeier, who spent much of his playing career at all levels predominantly as a catcher, wants to start by getting the Spoofhounds in a habit of throwing more often, particularly with all the uncertainty that looms between now and the start of next year’s season.
Plackemeier said he thinks the team will be able to have a season in 2021, after last spring’s season was canceled by the pandemic. He said next year’s senior class, who had its junior season ripped away via COVID-19 is strong, and the incoming freshman class should be too. And with such a high degree of uncertainty between now and the next season, Plackemeier isn’t focused too heavily on the in-between.
“We’re just gonna take one day at a time and then win today,” Plackemeier said. “That’s the way I think about things: You win today, you can do a lot.”