Tom Lechnir, who has been a part of 941 victories as a player, assistant coach and head coach at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since 1979, was inducted into the Central Wisconsin Baseball Hall of Fame on Jan. 28.
Lechnir has achieved legendary success since becoming UW Oshkosh’s fifth head baseball coach in 1989. Under his guidance, the Titans have fashioned a 647-221-1 record with one National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III championship (1994) and 11 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) titles (1991-99, 2007). The WIAC’s all-time winningest coach ranks sixth in NCAA Division III history with his .745 winning percentage and 19th with his 647 victories.
UW Oshkosh has reached the 30-win plateau nine times during Lechnir’s tenure, including a 41-4 record in 1994 and a 41-5 mark in 1998. In addition, Lechnir has guided UW-Oshkosh to 14 NCAA Division III regional tournaments (1990-99, 2003, 2007-08) and nine NCAA Division III World Series (1990-96, 1998, 2003). The Titans finished first at the NCAA Division III World Series in 1994, second in 1993 and third in 1991 and 1995.
Lechnir’s coaching success hasn’t gone unnoticed. He was named the NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year in 1994, NCAA Division III Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 1990-96, 1998 and 2003 and WIAC Coach of the Year in 1998-99 and 2007.
Lechnir has always taught his players to dream big. Eight years ago, Lechnir had a dream of his own: to build a baseball stadium to house what has become a model for success in a NCAA Division III baseball program. Today, that dream is kept alive with the recent construction of Alumni Stadium. Lechnir, who always wanted to leave something better than he found it, was a primary driving force behind the planning, fundraising and design of one of the finest baseball facilities in the NCAA Division III.
The Central Wisconsin Baseball Hall of Fame induction was the third of Lechnir’s career. He was inducted into the UW Oshkosh Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
Lechnir, who received both his bachelor’s (1983) and master’s degree (1989) from UW Oshkosh, lives in Oshkosh with his wife, Tina, and twin sons, Drew and Zach.