Former Remsen St. Mary’s baseball head coach and principal Jim Wesselmann will be inducted into the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in the 2023 class.
Wesselmann says he was caught off guard by the recognition and missed the call many times thinking it was something else.
A product of Bancroft St. John’s, Wesselmann’s love of the game was grown through the fact that, at the time, baseball was a year-round sport. Between the fall, summer, and spring seasons, Wesselmann had plenty of time on the diamond.
Wesselmann’s high school career peaked in 1980 when he won 20 games as a pitcher (tied for 13th in IHSAA history), and the Johnnies finished as runner-up in the state title game to Kee High. He pitched nine innings in that championship game that went 13 innings in conditions that were less than ideal.
After a college career at Briar Cliff, Wesselmann knew that coaching baseball was something he wanted to do. His first job out of college was at Corwith/Wesley/Lu Verne where he says he was able to cut his teeth coaching against some tough talent.
He then got to coach the final year of his alma mater’s program seeing St. John’s out in 1989. After another brief stint at Corwith/Wesley/Lu Verne, Wesselmann made his way closer to our area when he was able to coach Okoboji and lead them to his first state tournament as a coach in 2003.
Wesselmann came to Remsen St. Mary’s in 2004 to take the principal position, and he has remained an important part of the community ever since. He says Remsen was the perfect community for his kids to grow up in.
His time at St. Mary’s almost did not include being the baseball coach. Wesselmann says when he took that principal job, he was not planning on coaching again.
Wesselmann had a chance to coach his sons while St. Mary’s was making state tournaments in the 2010s. He says it was fun but challenging at times.
Through his time at St. Mary’s, Wesselmann co-coached the program with current head coach Dean Harpenau. Wesselmann says they were a perfect fit considering their playing history, their upbringing in baseball, and the way they complimented each other.
Wesselmann attributes his work ethic in his upbringing to his father who never got the chance to play baseball. He says his dad made sure that whatever Jim did in life, he would do it well.
Wesselmann won 672 games in his over three decades coaching baseball. He also coached the 2016 St. Mary’s baseball team to the state title which was his only championship as a baseball coach.