Neil Fiala is excited about his 24th season as head coach of the Blue Storm baseball team. Fiala has 842 wins at SWIC and 1,198 wins overall in his coaching career.
Fiala has been named to five halls of fame and two all-time teams. In May 2016, he was inducted into the NJCAA Coaches Hall of Fame. In 2015, he was inducted into the Mon-Clair Amateur Baseball HOF. In 2008, he was named "Manager of the Decade" for the River City Rascals, which he managed for three seasons. In 2007, he was named to the 50th anniversary All-Time Junior College World Series Team and was inducted into the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into Vianney High School's first hall of fame class in 1996 and named to the Kiwanis of Southwest St. Louis Hall of Fame in 1989.
His career record at SWIC stands at 842-472. It includes five Great Rivers Athletic Conference championships and five regional championships in 10 championship finals appearances.
During Fiala's tenure at SWIC:
- 61 players have been named all-conference
- Six players have been named conference MVP or pitcher of the year
- Two players have been named conference freshman of the year
- 44 players have been named all-region
- Five players have been named region MVP
- 11 players were All-Americans
- 194 players have moved on to play baseball at four-year institutions
- 45 players have signed professional contracts
- He has been conference coach of the year five times
- He has been region coach of the year five times
During Fiala's overall coaching career:
- 93 of his former players have signed professional contracts
- 14 of his former players have advanced to the major leagues
In addition to coaching the Blue Storm, Fiala managed the River City Rascals, a professional independent team in the Frontier League, for three seasons and won a division championship in 2000. For four seasons he was a coach for the Gateway Grizzlies, which won the Frontier League championship in 2003.
Fiala was an infielder with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds from 1977-1982. He appeared in five major league games with the Cardinals and Reds in 1981. He had one hit in five at-bats while under former Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog and former Reds manager John McNamara.
A high school All-American at Vianney HS, Fiala was the MVP of the 1975 Junior College World Series while playing at St. Louis CC at Meramec and in 1977 he was the MVP of the NCAA DI Midwest Regional while playing for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. That team finished 3rd in the College World Series. Fiala graduated from SIUC with a degree in Communications in 1978.
Following his major league career, Fiala served as an assistant baseball coach at Vianney High School (1983-86) and at Meramec Community College (1987-89). He coached one year in the New York Yankees organization (1990). From 1991-93, Fiala was the assistant baseball coach at the University of Illinois.
Assistant Coach Phil Berndsen
This is the first year Berndsen will serve as assistant coach for the SWIC baseball team.
A graduate of Mater Dei High School, Berndsen played baseball at Kaskaskia College, where his 2008 team won the conference title. He then moved on to Mid-Continent University in Kentucky and finished his collegiate career there.
In 2014 and 2015, Berndsen served as the assistant coach at O'Fallon Township High School. He was the co-manager of the Breese American Legion Post 252 state champions in 2015. He spent last season as the pitching coach at Austin College in Texas.
Berndsen graduated from Lindenwood University with a bachelor's degree in human resource management.
Baseball Office: 618-235-2700, ext. 5371