Vianney's Bieser Wants SLU Baseball Job

Steve Bieser sees great potential in the Saint Louis University baseball program. After 13 years playing professionally and winning two state championships as a high school coach, Bieser thinks he's up to the challenge of taking the Billikens to a new level after the recent resignation of long-time coach Bob Hughes.

"I am really, really interested in that job," Bieser told on Thursday. "I hope I can at least get in there and show them what I have to offer. To me, that would be the top job for me. I don't want to leave the St. Louis area to coach. I've always held that as the top position for me."

Bieser, 39, is the head coach at Vianney High School in Kirkwood, Mo. — a short drive west on Highway 44 from SLU's campus — where he led the Golden Griffins to a pair of Missouri Class 4 championships in the last four seasons and has produced several Division I players in that time.

"The potential is great" at SLU, Bieser said. "If we can keep some of those quality kids in the area and get them to buy into it… That's a challenge I'd really like to have."

Bieser, who grew up in Ste. Genevieve, played professionally for 13 years and six different organizations as a catcher after being drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1989 out of Southeast Missouri State. He was with the New York Mets in 1997 and with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1998.

Following his playing career, Bieser took his first teaching job at Vianney in 2001. He served as Vianney's "B Team" coach for two years before taking over the varsity squad.

The coach led the Griffins to state championships in 2004 and 2006 as well as Metro Catholic Conference titles in 2005 and 2006 — the first league titles for the school since 1997.

Among the players Bieser has sent to Division I schools are left-handed pitcher Nick Schmidt (Arkansas), catcher Jason Hagerty (University of Miami), left-handed pitcher Josh Syberg (Southeast Missouri State), catcher Jim Klocke (Southeast Missouri State) and outfielder Dave Stewart (who will be a freshman at Nebraska next year).

Schmidt and Klocke both earned Louisville Slugger freshman all-american honors. Klocke was named the Ohio Valley Conference freshman of the year this spring.

Schmidt, now a junior at Arkansas, was selected in the first round of Thursday's Major League First-Year Player Draft, No. 23 overall, by the San Diego Padres. He was a first-team Louisville Slugger all-american as a sophomore and a second-team selection this spring.

Bieser said that his next career move would be to coach a Division I program, though his options are limited because he doesn't want to leave the St. Louis area. He has not talked to anyone at Saint Louis University yet, but plans to do so soon.

The coach has a strong baseball resume and has proved to be able to win games and develop talent. He could be a good fit for the Billikens.

"I know that I can handle that position and I just need an opportunity," Bieser said.

Hughes resigned after 19 years as the Billikens coach due to health reasons. He was SLU's longest tenured coach and racked up 361 victories. In 2006, the Billikens won a school-record 32 games, won the Atlantic 10 tournament championship and made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 40 years.

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