When you tune into the World Series this weekend, pay close attention to those slow-motion replays of a guy sliding into second base and you’ll see the handiwork of a Rock Valley College alumnus.
Caleb Schupbach (SHOE-BOCK), a 2012 graduate of RVC and former two-year pitcher on the Golden Eagles baseball team, now works as a graphic designer for Schutt Sports, a sports equipment company based in Litchfield, Illinois. Schutt Sports is the world’s largest maker of football helmets and face guards, covering all levels of football from youth to the NFL. Schutt also produces every base used in Major League Baseball.
In fact, Caleb’s fingerprints are on the bases you will see throughout the World Series between the Cubs and Indians. One of his responsibilities is to design and set up all the base jewels/decals for all 30 MLB teams as well as the special designs used on the bases for the All-Star game and throughout the post-season and World Series.
“It’s always fun for me around this time of year because I love playoff baseball and it’s cool to watch the game and see my designs on the field,” says Caleb.
Other projects he has been involved with during his time at Schutt include creating special “color rush” decals for the New York Jets.
“The decals they wore on field were chrome and my job was to match the decal to their chrome guards that they were wearing for that game,” says Caleb.
He has also been involved in designing and setting up on-field decals for Western Kentucky, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, University of Kentucky, Colorado State, North Dakota State, and a number of other colleges and universities.
Another highlight for Caleb came during the 2015 MLB season when Schutt was charged with designing the special helmet and face guard for the Miami Marlin’s star slugger Giancarlo Stanton after he was hit in the face by a pitch earlier that season.
“I was not involved in that project, but I did get to meet him while he was at Schutt, which was awesome because I’m a huge fan,” says Caleb. “I even got to put his helmet on.”
Working with another designer at his office, Caleb also designs, creates, and sets up all artwork for football, baseball, and lacrosse helmets, working on a very wide range of projects from day to day. Together they work with coaches to come up with new helmet designs for their team, including everything from helmet and guard color to the style of the decal.
Schutt is also the leader in college football collectible helmets.
“Our job as designers is to keep an eye out for new helmets college teams are wearing,” says Caleb. “Once we see them we make a digital rendering of the helmet and submit it for licensing. After we get approved to create and sell that helmet, it is our job to create the decals and set them up to be printed.”
So how did he find his way into such an interesting job?
After Caleb graduated from RVC, he was still not sure what he wanted to do. He transferred to Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, where he would also play baseball. Schutt is located in Litchfield, Illinois, which is only 15 minutes from Carlinville. Caleb’s coach at Blackburn happens to be good friends with someone who works at Schutt. In order to finish his graphic design major, Caleb needed to complete an internship. So his coach at Blackburn introduced him to the man who would later become his boss at Schutt. He landed an internship there, which ultimately turned into a full time job after he graduated.
As for his experiences at RVC and how it has helped him get where he is today, Caleb had this to say:
“I learned a lot of valuable lessons during my time at RVC. My first semester there was a huge struggle for me. I was very close to being ineligible for baseball. I remember having to go tell Coach [Kevin] Vest that I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass my Economics class. That was a scary moment for me and a big wake up call. My second semester went a lot smoother, but still had its ups and downs. Coach Vest would always tell us ‘Do the right thing.’ Every practice we had at some point he would say it. ‘Do the right thing.’ We even had it printed on the back of our practice shirts. I remember really taking that to heart and applying it to my life. If doing the right thing meant showing up five minutes early to practice and staying late, then that’s what I did. If it meant going home and writing a paper instead of hanging out with friends, then that’s what I did. If it meant to simply holding a door open for someone, then that’s what I did. It made me work harder and strive to be a better student, player, son, brother, friend and all around better person. I have carried that lesson with me ever since and I still strive to do the right thing every day.”