Personality: Coach Shawn Stiffler

Spotlight on the 2017 Paul Keyes RBI Award winner

1/27/2017, 7:37 a.m.
The love of baseball was almost inevitable for Shawn Stiffler, head baseball coach at Virginia Commonwealth University for the past ...

Meet this week’s Personality, baseball and life coach, Shawn Stiffler:

Date and place of birth: April 2 in Somerset, Penn.

Current residence: Richmond.

Alma mater: Bachelor’s degree in communications, George Mason University, 2001.

Family: Wife, Jennifer, and three children, Wade, Scout and Penn.

Latest honor: 2017 Paul Keyes Richmond Baseball Impact Award presented by the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

How I got news about this award: The CEO of the Flying Squirrels contacted me and let me know they wanted to consider me for the award. Last week, VCU’s athletic director, Ed McLaughlin, informed me.

Reaction: I was quite taken aback because I had a relationship with Coach Keyes. I spent time with him. I was there when he passed away.

Why I’m a coach: I played baseball in high school and college, and coaching gives me an opportunity to stay with the game, work with young people and have a positive impact as much as I can.

How much time I spend coaching: During a typical day, up to 16 hours overall, including investing time in building VCU’s program and about three hours on the field.

Who influenced me to become a coach: My father and grandfather initially cultivated my love of the game. But once I started coaching, Coach Keyes had the biggest influence on me.

Teaching philosophy: I try to intertwine baseball and life lessons to help the young men I work with.

Best late-night snack: Usually, it’s whatever my wife has in the house. But I really like something crunchy, like almonds and cashews. And a bowl of ice cream is never far away either.

Quality I most admire in another person: Positivity. Within two seconds of a conversation, you know if a person is positive and if they care about you at all. That’s what I look for in my players when recruiting — are they an energy giver or energy taker.

The best thing my parents ever taught me: Compassion.

Next goal: Continue to build VCU’s baseball program.