Type to search

Longtime Field softball assistant Bob Bauer makes profound impact

Longtime Field softball assistant Bob Bauer makes profound impact


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor

The Field softball team doesn’t go anywhere without Coach B’s bucket.

A gift from standout alumni Megan Schmidt, the white bucket acts as Bob Bauer’s perch, where he calls pitches for the Falcons’ staff while sitting as close to home plate as possible.

The bucket is decorated with a list of the program’s league-championship years painted in red.

Underneath the lid is a quote that reads, “Stay tough, work hard.”

This is how it has been for as long as Beth Dyer can remember it.

Bauer, her father, has been part of her 35-year softball journey from the day she was introduced to the sport.

First as her coach.

Now as her lead assistant coach.

But always as dad.

A trusted voice with a wealth of softball knowledge that initially helped her star at Rootstown and West Virginia Wesleyan that has now been shared with Field softball players for 18 years.

Dyer and Bauer share an unbreakable bond, with softball serving as a significant thread that weaves the fabric of their relationship so tightly.

The relationship has also been healthy for the Falcons, who have celebrated the program’s highest heights with the two coaches leading the way.

Meanwhile, Dyer has ascended to one of the most successful coaches in Portage County. Her 351 career wins rank third all-time in county history. Her .777 win percentage ranks first, easily besting retired Southeast softball coach Dave Dubinsky, who accumulated a 458-288 (.606 win percentage) career record.

Amidst all of Dyer’s success, including a 2024 highlighted by a 24-4 record, Metro Athletic Conference title and berth into the Division II district final, Dyer shies away from the spotlight.

She reserves that space for her players, including this season’s talented group.

But she also finds space for the spotlight to include her father for the impact he continues to provide to the program.

She feels the 351 wins are as much Bauer’s as they are hers.

“If I am coaching, then he is coaching. I feel like we are a package deal at this point,” Dyer said. “It is a no-brainer and it has always kind of been like that.”

Dyer spent one season as Field’s JV softball coach in 2006, then was offered the opportunity to take over as the varsity head coach.

Her first call was to her dad.

For different reasons.

First, she simply wanted to share the exciting news with her parents.

Secondly, she invited him to be the first member of her coaching staff.

“As a young head coach, I had some reservations about taking over a program,” Dyer said. “I knew how to play the game, and I knew how to be a pitcher, but being the head coach, I need to be able to coach all of the positions. I expressed those concerns to my dad, and he graciously offered to help me.”

From that point, Bauer, who also spent time as an assistant at Rootstown under then-head coach Dave Mullenix (382 career wins) while Beth and her sisters Lindsay and Lesa all starred as pitchers in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, has shared a perfect blend of knowledge and experience with an appreciated passion and calm demeanor.

“I think he is always professional in his approach to the players and in his preparation for games,” Dyer said. “He brings a calm confidence, and I think the players react to that. He knows when to step in to help and when to step back to let a player figure it out on their own. He is a person that I have so much respect for on so many different levels — as my dad, for what he means to our family, as a coach, for his commitment, how he studies the game and how he still is inspired to learn to be a better coach.

“The preparation that he puts into games and practices is unbelievable,” Dyer added. “During the softball season, his mind is always going. He is always thinking about what can make the team better or what is best for the team at that moment. To watch him coach, now that I can observe it and appreciate it in deeper detail now, is fun and you can easily see that he truly enjoys it and that it brings happiness to his life.”

Bauer retired as an Akron Springfield school administrator and educator 17 years ago, but has never lost his ability to relate to student-athletes. And the Falcons continue to respond and react to his coaching style that is based on motivating, supporting and inspiring, while not being afraid to challenge them.

“Not everyone can relate to kids and few are as good at it as he is, and the kids respond to him all the time,” Dyer said. “It is awesome to watch.”

And Dyer is watching a little bit more intently these days.

“The older I get, the more I appreciate the moments more. They were never taken for granted, but I think you learn to appreciate them more,” Dyer said. “After every big win, we don’t high-five each other, we hug. When we won the district championship in 2022, we didn’t have to wait to find each other after the game or I didn’t have to wait to call him to tell him about it. We were there together, hugging, crying together.

“We have coached together for so long now, that it would be hard to have a different assistant,” Dyer added. “We work so well together and not just because we are father and daughter. We complement each other so well, and we joke that when he is done, then I am done, because I am not sure I would know how to do it without him.”

It is an appreciation that Dyer said she feels about her entire family, including her mother Linda, who has long supported their softball career together.

First as her coach.

Now as her lead assistant coach.

But always as dad.

1 Comment

  1. Linda. Bauer May 27, 2024

    Thanks Tom. It is a really nice article! Hard to believe Bob has been coaching for 37 years! I always wondered what Bob would do when the girls went to college and he no longer coached their teams, but he moved right into helping Beth with her team – and he loves it!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *