Wapakoneta’s Culver signs to play at N. Kentucky

Northern Kentucky University appears to be as comforting as home for Chace Culver.

The Wapakoneta High School senior has decided to continue his education and baseball career at NKU, which is located in Highland Heights, Ky., seven miles southeast of Cincinnati.

The right-handed pitcher signed Friday his National Letter of Intent, which formalized his commitment to the university.

Culver made a verbal commitment Feb. 19 to NKU.

Culver will major in sports business at NKU.

He has an eye on becoming an athletic director or attempting a career with one of the many professional sports franchises in the Cincinnati area.

Culver said the most primary reason NKU was his college choice was because of the sports business major it offers, which is a rare one among colleges and universities.

“I wanted to do a sports business major, and it was one of the very few schools that had it around this area. I like the Cincinnati area.”

Culver listed the other reasons he chose NKU.

“The coaches are great. I couldn’t be more happy with those guys,” he said. “The field is awesome. The school is great. I like everything they’re offering.”

The Norse are coached by NKU alum Todd Asalon, who played baseball for the school in the 1980s.

Culver, who was a third-team All-Western Buckeye League selection in 2013, described what attracted him to the NKU baseball program.

“One of their big things is development,” he said. “Coach Dizzy (Peyton), their pitching coach, that’s one of the things he stresses. They have a lot of guys at the next level pitching professionally. Development is a big thing.”

The Norse have had nine pitchers drafted into MLB under Asalon and Peyton since 2005.

Peyton is also a former NKU baseball player.

NKU began competing as a Division I school in the fall of 2012 after previously being classified as a Division II school.

Although the Norse’s athletic teams are competing as Division I programs, they are ineligible for postseason competition until the 2016-17 school year — which will be Culver’s sophomore season with the baseball team.

“It’s something they have talked about,” Culver said, of NKU’s ineligibility for postseason play. “It’s not a strong point. It’s not something they sell the program on. I’m willing to deal with it. It’s a place where I’d give that up for a year.”

Culver outlined his goals as a member of the Norse.

“I’d like to get a lot of playing time my freshman year and win a lot of games,” he said. “We won’t be able to compete for a conference championship until my sophomore year but I’d like to eventually do that.

“I’d like to be one of the better pitchers to come out of the program.”

Culver, who is listed at 6 feet, 3 inches and 180 pounds, described what attributes will help him be competitive at the college level.

“My work ethic will help out,” he said. “That’s a thing they like to see. They saw my body transforming. That’s a result of hard work. I’ve put on weight and gotten stronger.

“My confidence, my trust in my other teammates, my mental toughness and keeping the other guys in the game will also help.”

Culver explained how his coaches during his high school experience, which is still incomplete, have helped him to this point in his baseball career.

“They’ve helped a lot,” he said. “Obviously, my coaches here in high school have been great. They’ve been nothing but good things for me. They’ve prepared me.

“I’ve been at the varsity level for a long time and they’ve pushed me. They’ve done nothing but help me out. They’ve definitely got me to bring out the best in my potential. It’s definitely helped out.”

Culver wanted to thank his fellow WHS senior Austin Scott, who made a recruiting video for Culver, which helped make the commitment to NKU possible.

The Norse became the newest member of the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2012.

NKU is the northern-most school in the A-Sun, which will be comprised of four Florida schools out of eight members once East Tennessee State and Mercer depart on July 1, 2014.