UT Tyler is off to a fantastic start this season, and senior right-hander Chad Sherman is a key reason the Patriots are undefeated through 15 games.

Sherman has compiled a 4-0 record and 0.96 ERA in four complete games. He has shut out two opponents and boasts a .151 opponent batting average en route to earning American Southwest Conference Pitcher of the Week twice during the first month of the season.

Not too shabby considering the winding road Sherman has traveled to find success. Sherman was a three-time first-team all-state honoree at catcher at Bullard High School, and also was an accomplished pitcher. After graduation, he headed to Panola Junior College in Carthage, Texas, where he earned all-conference honors as a freshman after setting a league record with a 1.02 ERA in conference games.

Sherman transferred to Texas A&M, but an injured shoulder limited his playing time and progress as a Division I pitcher. In just four appearances for the Aggies in 2009, Sherman pitched 11.1 innings, compiling a 0-1 mark and 8.74 ERA.

That’s the best thing for me – not hurting or worrying about how I’m going to feel when I pitch.
-- Chad Sherman, UT Tyler

“I tried to rehab it and pitch through it and it didn’t work out,” Sherman said. “[Being a college pitcher] was something I always wanted to do, and not being able to help the team and be hurt was very frustrating.”

Sherman returned home to Bullard to have shoulder surgery, and immediately called the coaching staff at UT Tyler, a Division III school located just 10 minutes down the road from his hometown. He let them know he would be attending college there in the fall, and had intentions of earning a spot on the roster.

After a year of rehabilitation, Sherman was ready to return to the mound this spring, and first-year head coach Paul Wyczawski is happy to have him.

“He wanted to get healthy and get an opportunity to play, and we’re certainly fortunate that he’s with us,” Wyczawski said. “He’s done a tremendous job. He’s a senior and has provided great leadership, which is not always easy to do for a guy just coming into a program no matter what year you are. He’s given some guidance to some of the younger pitchers. He’s enjoying the chance to pitch and start on a regular basis.”

Opponents, on the other hand, probably are not too happy to see Sherman. He has struck out 37 batters, given up just three extra-base hits and issued just seven walks in 28 innings.

“He’s a guy that can throw three or four pitches for strikes every time,” Wyczawski said. “He’s got really good command.”

Sherman is thrilled to be healthy, and able to contribute to his team’s success.

“It feels good to finally be almost 100 percent out there,” Sherman said. “That’s the best thing for me – not hurting or worrying about how I’m going to feel when I pitch.”

Although his playing days will end in a few short months, Sherman is looking to continue to be involved in collegiate baseball – as a coach. He plans to attend graduate school as he looks to break into the college coaching ranks.

“My dad always coached me growing up and said it was something he wished he had done,” Sherman said. “I really enjoy giving lessons or coaching teams or helping kids out any way I can. It’s just as satisfying to help someone as it is to do well on your own. I’ve never really thought about anything else.”

Sherman also believes that his time spent with different teams and coaches will only be an asset as he tries coaching as a career.

“I’ve had five different head coaches in five years of college baseball,” Sherman said. “I’ve seen lots of different styles and different mentalities. You take something away from everybody and hope that helps you. I’ve dealt with just about any personality you can think of and hopefully that helps me. I think it will, I think it has.”

No. 7 UT Tyler opens ASC play with a three-game series against East Texas Baptist on March 11-12. The Patriots are the defending ASC Tournament champions.