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Warhawks announce the signing of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent
ULM baseball head coach Jeff Schexnaider announced the signing of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play for the Warhawks beginning with the 2009 season.
The class includes three Louisiana players.
ULM retires the jerseys of former standouts Chuck Finley and Ben Sheets!
Sheets, who played at the university from 1997-1999, and Chuck Finley, who played at the university from 1984-1985, were honored in a jersey retirement reception.
The only other baseball jersey retired at ULM was #24, which belonged to Coach Lou St. Amant, who coached Finley while at the university.
ULM head coach Jeff Schexnaider enters his seventh season at the helm of the Warhawk baseball program.
Schexnaider, the 2008 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year, has guided the Warhawks to two Sun Belt Conference championships, including the 2012 Sun Belt Conference tournament championship. Under his tutelage, the program won the regular season conference championship in 2008, Schexnaider's second season. He followed that success by leading ULM to the 2009 Sun Belt Tournament championship game.
The 2012 season was marked by an exciting run through the postseason tournament. The 5th-seeded Warhawks won two extra-inning games, including a 13 inning walk-off victory over top seeded Florida Atlantic. Schexnaider's team went on to defeat Arkansas State to claim the Sun Belt championship and advance into the NCAA post season. ULM began regional play with a narrow 4-1 loss to No.7 LSU, but followed with a victory over Belmont before falling to No.16 Oregon State. The Warhawks finished the season among the last 40 teams remaining in the NCAA post season tournament.
These accomplishments are elevated by the fact that the Sun Belt consistently ranks among the top seven conferences in the NCAA based on RPI. Schexnaider has amassed a 168-177 record in his six seasons on the Bayou.
A lifelong Warhawk, Phil Keifenheim is in his ninth season camp coordinator for the ULM baseball team. Aside from his camp coordinator duties Keifenheim organizes and directs events for the ULM coaching staff.
A lifelong educator, Keifenheim hosts at least three camps a year for area youth and Warhawk fans. His annual fall holiday camps and summer camps have not only been great successes for ULM, they have provided the Northeast Louisiana community with an affordable opportunity for its youth to learn the game of baseball.
A 30-year veteran of the game of baseball, he lettered at ULM in 1979 and 1980. Currently, Keifenheim is in his 31st year of teaching economics at West Monroe High School. During his tenure with the Rebels, he has coached baseball, football, basketball, softball and tennis.
A native of Mount Calvary, Wis., Keifenheim and his wife, Jane, live in West Monroe. The couple has two daughters, Amy and Jill.
Bruce Peddie is in his first season as an assistant coach with the ULM baseball program and he will serve as the team's hitting coach.
Peddie joined the Warhawk program after a four-year stint as the head coach at the University of New Orleans and he owns more than 375 career victories.
During his first year as a head coach, the Privateers secured notable series wins over in-state rivals Tulane and LSU. At the 2010 season's conclusion, Nick Schwaner was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 30th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft after receiving all-Louisiana and all-Region honors.
Under Peddie's tutelage as both a head coach and an assistant, Schwaner completed a UNO career which saw him finish in the top 10 all-time in hits (240), doubles (48), total bases (427), slugging percentage (.606) and RBIs (165).
Former ULM and MLB pitcher Ben Sheets is in his first season as a volunteer assistant coach with the Warhawk baseball program.
Sheets spent three seasons at ULM (1997-99) and was a two-time All-Southland selection (1998, 1999). He was also named the conference Player and Pitcher of the Year in 1999. He went on to earn an Olympic Gold Medal as part of the 2000 United States Olympic Team. Sheets holds the school record for wins in a season (14) and season winning percentage (.933) both of which came in the 1999 season.
Sheets appeared in the majors from 2001-2012 but missed the 2009 and 2011 seasons due to injury. He spent time with the Milwaukee Brewers (eight seasons), Oakland Athletics (one season) and Atlanta Braves (one season).
He started 250 MLB games and finished his career with 94 wins, a 3.78 ERA and 1325 strikeouts in 1596.2 innings of work.
Larry Thomas is in his first season as an assistant coach with ULM and he will work with the team's pitching staff.
Thomas arrives in Monroe from Faulkner State Community College where he served as the pitching coach for one season. The squad improved its overall team ERA and finished fourth in the country with a 2.86 ERA.
Thomas, an All-American pitcher at Maine, was drafted in the second round of the 1991 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Chicago White Sox. He made his MLB debut in 1995 and pitched for three seasons in the majors before undergoing Tommy John surgery. In three years, as a reliever, he appeared in 79 total games and posted a 3-2 record with a 3.02 ERA.