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Prep Zone

Schwab: Familiar mentor entices St. Charles North baseball's Dennis to pick Tiffin

St. Charles North senior Jack Dennis is glad to know there will be at least one familiar face when he arrives at Tiffin University next year.

In fact, that friendly face is the main reason Dennis chose the Division II school in Ohio.

Dennis, a first baseman/corner outfielder for the North baseball program, will reunite with former North Stars assistant coach Jim Richardson, a new assistant at Tiffin. Richardson orchestrated Dennis’ recruitment.

“I’ve known [Richardson] since, I want to say, early freshman year,” Dennis said. “I started taking hitting lessons with him, and the bond just grew. I loved his coaching style, so when I heard he went to the college level, first of all I was sad because I didn’t have him as a coach anymore, and then I was like ‘Oh, I might have a place to play.’ ”

Richardson worked under North head coach Todd Genke from 2007 to 2012 before spending a year as an assistant coach at Judson University, then moving on to Tiffin.

Dennis committed to Tiffin last month after visiting the school in October. His observations of the Dragons’ players on the visit helped convince Dennis to choose Tiffin over other options such as North Central and Elgin Community College. 

“They all wanted to be there,” Dennis said. “It wasn’t like they were forced to. When they showed me the tour, there were kids in the weight room when they didn’t have to be, kids running sprints when they didn’t have to be, so it shows everyone is really committed to the program and winning.”

In the short term, Dennis’ zeal for winning applies to what he anticipates being a bounce-back spring for the North Stars in 2014.

North had an uncharacteristically lukewarm season last year, and North Stars leaders such as Kansas State recruit Cory Wright and Dennis are determined to avoid a repeat next season. 

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Dennis swung one of the few reliable sticks for a quiet North offense.

“I hated that,” Dennis said of North’s struggles last year. “It was a rough way to end the year, but it’s not how this year is going to happen. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we know it, and I think that bad taste really set a fire under everyone that we need to go out and win the conference this year and go deep in the playoffs.”

If the North Stars improve, other North players could soon be on Richardson’s radar. Dennis said he expects Richardson to keep close tabs on the St. Charles area from a recruiting standpoint in the coming years.

Batavia commemorative section upcoming: Batavia football fans can count on us to provide a late stocking-stuffer before Christmas.

On Dec. 20, readers in Batavia will find a keepsake, commemorative section about Batavia’s state championship football season inserted in their Chronicle.

The section will feature multiple looks back at the program’s first state title and include some of photo editor Sandy Bressner’s favorite images from the season.

It should prove popular with Bulldogs fans – now and in the future.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or

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