New coach enforces policy that limits cell phone use


Selena Favela

Connor Lungwitz places his phone in his designated slot before entering the locker room. Wichita State baseball coaches have implemented a no cell phone policy in the locker room.

One of new pitching coach Mike Steele’s first orders of baseball business was keeping players off their cell phones during practices or games.

Steele refashioned a holster for holding calculators. On the way to the clubhouse, players place their cell phones in the pouch.

Steele said this policy benefits the players and he sees it uniting the team.

“Any chance they have to disconnect from dealing with reality they’ll take it,” Steele said. “Any other good team is a team that is socially cohesive, and that means that they’re going to be together, whether you like each other or don’t like each other.”

The players quickly agreed to turn in their cell phones due to the consequences associated with not participating.

“I don’t think they said anything about it,” Steele said. “Then the first couple times that somebody had kept their cell phone on them, the punishment was so drastic that if one of them walked down there with the phone in their pocket right now there might be a fight because they don’t want to have to put up with what the punishment would be.”

Sophomore pitcher Connor Lungwitz explained Steele had created a “Wheel of Misfortune” which contained 18 different exercises.

“We’ve been caught before and we had to spin the ‘Wheel of Misfortune,’” Lungwitz said. “It’s basically a wheel with a bunch of different punishments on it as far as workouts go.”

Lungwitz said the punishments stack up.

“For however many guys had their phones out down there, we’d have that many spins on the wheel,” Lungwitz said.

Senior pitcher Willie Schwanke said the “Wheel of Misfortune” showed him the importance of everyone participating because they would all suffer if one player broke the rule.

“We pay it as a staff, it’s not individuals,” Schwanke said. “If someone does it, everyone pays the price. We’ll spin the wheel and there’s exercises on there that really aren’t enjoyable.”

The punishments range from 40 Spartan jumping jacks to two 90-foot duck walks to two 20-yard gauntlet runs. The wheel also has a “coach’s choice” option.

Schwanke said the policy has been good for the team.

“It’s definitely helped us grow as a team, especially as a pitching staff,” Schwanke said. “We’ve got a chemistry that really I haven’t seen in the couple years that I’ve been here.”

This chemistry is part of the goal Steele had when starting the policy.

“I think they start to realize that inside of all of us is a need for relationship,” Steele said. “So when you kind of make it not an option, I think they start to go, ‘oh, actually, I really like this. I can slow my day down, I can hear my teammates, I can be a part of a group with a common goal.’”

Steele looks at this policy as a chance for the players to not be distracted from the team.

“Be where your feet are, be here,” Steele said. “If you’re here with your team, be here with your team. Don’t be on Twitter or whatever else trying to like something or dislike something or shoot out your opinion.”