Following an 18-year career as the head coach of the Midland University baseball team in Fremont, Neb., Jef Field was inducted into the school’s athletics hall of fame earlier this month. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
By Brett Nachtigall
FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University, a private liberal arts college of about 1,400 students located in Fremont, Neb., near Omaha, welcomed five new members into the Warrior Athletics Hall of Fame during ceremonies earlier this month.
One of those inductees was Hot Springs native Jef Field, who served as the Warriors’ baseball head coach from 1995 to 2012 and accumulated more than 400 wins. His 2006 team set a then-school record for victories with 42.
Under Field’s leadership as the head coach for Midland University Warriors baseball progam for 18 seasons, the team won 20 or more games 12 times, including conference tournament championships in 1997, 2001 and 2006. The Warriors also won regular-season league titles in 1998 and 2006.
Field was named the conference Coach of the Year in 1997, 1998 and 2001. He coached more than 30 first- or second-team all-league picks during his tenure.
Born and raised in Hot Springs, Field moved to Grand Junction, Colo., after his freshman year at Hot Springs High School in 1975. Following his high school graduation in Colorado in 1978, Field returned to Hot Springs in the summers to coach youth baseball for many years. It was during this time that Field credits where he earned his love of coaching.
His coaching resume in Hot Springs during the late 1970s and early 1980s included Little League, Teeners and Legion baseball, as well as other Summer Rec activities, after being hired by the then Summer-Rec Coordinator Joyce Farrell.
“My experiences growing up and helping coach in Hot Springs during that time was absolutely phenomenal and is a big reason how I ended up doing what I am now,” Field said recently in a phone interview from his home in Fremont.
“I look back on those times very fondly,” said Field, while adding how he had recently heard from some of the youth in Hot Springs he had coached many years ago. He said that it always amazes him, how, in the profession of coaching, one can have an impact on other’s lives that can last a lifetime.
For part of the time while being a youth coach in Hot Springs, Field was also attending Black Hills State University and playing ball for the Yellow Jackets baseball team. However, after his junior season, BHSU dropped its baseball program which prompted Field to transfer to Northern State University in Aberdeen, where he finished up his college baseball playing career and then also graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education.
He then went to South Dakota State University in the early 1990s and was the assistant coach for the Jackrabbits and continued to attend classes, eventually earning his Master’s Degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, with an emphasis in Psychology, in 1993. While being assist coach at SDSU, the Jackrabbits won three North Central Conference championships in 1992, 1993 and 1994.
He continues to live in Fremont and works at Midland University as a faculty member in the College of Human Performance. He has two children, a daughter Baylee who is a freshman at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, and a son Barry who is a junior in high school.
Jef is the son of the late Ken and Helen Field. He he has two siblings – Barry Field and Sue Haden – who both currently live in Hot Springs.