Titans' legendary baseball coach passes away - UW Oshkosh Today
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TiedemannRuss2The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh lost an athletics icon of historic measure when legendary baseball coach Dr. Russell Tiedemann passed away Monday, Nov. 23 in Wausau at the age of 84.

Tiedemann coached the Titans from 1968-69 and 1971-88, building the program into a national power. He was at the helm for one national championship, 15 conference titles and more than 500 victories.

Tiedemann led UW Oshkosh to 10 straight WIAC championships from 1979-88. He also guided the Titans to eight NCAA Division III World Series appearances and three NAIA World Series visits.

“The entire UW Oshkosh athletics community lost a great man, a great coach and a legendary figure in Russ Tiedemann,” said UW Oshkosh Director of Athletics Darryl Sims. “He was an outstanding representative of this university and paved the way for our baseball program to become a major player at the national level. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Irene and the entire Tiedemann family.”

In 1985, UW Oshkosh became the first school from Wisconsin to win the NCAA Division III Baseball World Series when it defeated Marietta College (Ohio), 11-6, in the championship game. The Titans captured the title by advancing through the loser’s bracket after suffering a defeat in their opening game.

UW Oshkosh concluded the 1985 season with a 37-3 record. Tiedemann, who recorded his 400th and 401st coaching victories at the World Series, was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year following his team’s performance. He also was selected as the NAIA Coach of the Year in 1974.

Tiedemann concluded his 20-year baseball-coaching career at UW Oshkosh with a 501-165-2 record. His win total and .748 winning percentage both rank third in WIAC history.

In addition to UW Oshkosh’s 37-3 record in 1985, Tiedemann also coached the Titans to records of 37-5 in 1987, 29-4-1 in 1983, 31-4 in 1981 and 17-5 in 1975. His 1987 team and the 1988 squad that posted a 28-8 record finished second at the NCAA Division III World Series.

Tiedemann saw 28 of his players sign professional baseball contracts, including Jim Gantner, who played 17 years for the Milwaukee Brewers, and other major leaguers Dorian Boyland, Terry Jorgensen, Dan Neumeier and Gary Varsho.

Tiedemann’s accomplishments have led to inductions into the halls of fame for UW Oshkosh (1978), the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association (1983), the NAIA District 14 (1990), the American Baseball Coaches Association (1992) and the WIAC (2015).

In 2012, he was selected the WIAC Baseball All-Time Co-Coach in conjunction with the conference’s Centennial Celebration.

Tiedemann, who served as UW Oshkosh’s director of athletics during the 1987-88 school year, was a letter winner for the Titans in football, basketball and track & field. The Kimberly High School graduate ended his UW-Oshkosh basketball career with 991 points and two all-conference awards.

Tiedemann earned a bachelor’s degree in education from UW Oshkosh (1955), master’s degree in education from the University of Northern Colorado (1964) and doctorate in education from the University of Utah (1971).

Following his graduation from UW Oshkosh, Tiedemann taught and coached at Hortonville High School from 1955-60 and Rhinelander High School from 1960-65. He then returned to UW Oshkosh in 1965 to teach physical education classes and coach basketball, baseball and football.

UW Oshkosh named its baseball field after Tiedemann on May 7, 1989.

Tiedemann and his wife, Irene, are parents of daughters Kathy, Patricia and Susan and son, Rusty.

Public visitation will be Monday, Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 426 Washington St. • Wausau, 54403. The funeral service will be held at the church, beginning at noon.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today.