After thriving in his duties as a volunteer assistant for three seasons, Kory Winter took over hitting and recruiting as a full-time assistant coach beginning with the 2019 season.
During his first season as Valpo’s hitting coach, Winter aided several Valpo players in their development. Senior Chase Dawson earned All-Missouri Valley Conference Second Team honors by posting the best offensive season of his accomplished collegiate career, hitting .324 after entering the year with a career batting average of .261. Another player who made a big jump under Winter was Riley Dent, who batted .290 on his way to All-MVC Honorable Mention recognition after entering the year with a .207 career average through his first two seasons. Steven Fitzsimmons also made a jump as a junior, going from a career .195 hitter with one double to hitting .268 with nine doubles in 2019. Senior Blake Billinger batted .306 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs in Winter’s first season as hitting coach, earning Google Cloud Academic All-District honors as selected by CoSIDA in addition to garnering a place on the All-MVC Second Team.
Winter, who also serves as Valpo’s outfield instructor, joined Valpo’s staff for the 2016 season after serving as an assistant coach at Shippensburg University in 2015. He played collegiately at Wittenberg University, where he graduated in 2010 with a degree in English and education. Winter’s coaching career also includes a stint at Muskingum University, where he was the lead assistant and recruiting coordinator from 2012-2014.
Winter, who earned his master’s in education from Muskingum, taught and coached at the high school level in Columbus, Ohio in 2011-2012.
Winter was on staff in 2016 as Valpo enjoyed the seventh 30-win season in program history. He was also a part of the department’s first season in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2018, a year that featured an upset conference tournament win over Dallas Baptist, a team that went on to receive an at-large NCAA Regional berth. Valpo totaled four wins against teams that finished the season in the Top 50 nationally in RPI (DBU twice, Oklahoma and Illinois). The Fighting Illini were ranked 25th nationally at the time of Valpo’s victory in Champaign.
Valpo set a program record for fielding percentage for the second consecutive season in 2018, finishing at .973. In addition, the team ranked in the Top 5 in program history in doubles, home runs and walks.