Knights athletics profile: Head baseball coach Robert Stern

By Enmanuel Vidal

Knightly News Reporter

If you follow Knights baseball, then you know the team’s charismatic leader, head coach Robert Stern.

But how much do you know about his background?

Stern, a 1982 graduate of Harrisburg High School, began coaching at his alma mater in 1988. He dedicated 14 years to being the head junior varsity and the assistant varsity coach to the Cougars baseball team, and mentored young athletes over the years.

Stern has also been involved in numerous leagues and organizations, and has dedicated his time to coaching travel teams and American Legion baseball since 2008.

In 2022, the Central Penn Knights are starting their seventh season and are again led by Stern, who has amassed a 37 – 40 record since he arrived on campus.

Stern loves coaching and cooking. Photo by Enmanuel Vidal

Good record, tough last season

To date, Coach Stern’s best season came in 2020, when the Knights got off to a scorching 7–1 start, the best start in the school’s history.  Unfortunately, their season was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That was our year,” Stern pointed out on a recent Knightly News Podcast. “I know we would have made the Small College World Series that year, and with our line-up, we would have been a tough out.”

After a tough 2021 season, which included varying COVID protocols and the loss of five seniors, the Knights ended with a 6–12 record.

Coming into 2022, Stern feels last season was crucial to the team’s development.

For this season of Knights baseball, fundraising has been important for the players to get equipment for training, and for uniforms for games at home and away.

So far, the team has been steady in fundraising.

“The most expensive thing in our budget is transportation,” Stern said. “Because this season we will have games in many places far from home, it is a great challenge for the team to achieve the goal of having enough fundraisers.”

Whippin’ up food, fun and funds

To combat this, Stern turned to a variety of fundraisers during the winter term, including making dishes such as pulled pork and spaghetti, as well as a sub sale.

Stern took the lead preparing food for the pulled-pork and spaghetti fundraisers, with the team supporting with marketing, ordering and distribution on the day of the event.

On a recent Knightly News Podcast, Stern noted: “I just cook as a hobby and I am a very sharing person when it comes to food. If I can share my food and help the team make a little money in the process, I am going to do that.”

Stern also discussed team meals on Sunday nights, when he cooks food and brings it to campus for the players.  He said this is a great team-building experience that brings the players together on a personal level.

The Knights have over 30 games scheduled this season, most notably a series of games at FNB Field, the home of the Harrisburg Senators, on March 16, 23, 28 and 31, and on April 15 and 22.

Team members hope to have lots of fan support this season, primarily because FNB Field is located close to campus.

Save the dates and support the team on its quest to return to the Small College World Series, which will be held in May.

Comments or story ideas? Contact KnightyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by media-club co-adviser Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi.