Schrage in a new place as SDSU skipper


Dave Schrage doesn’t exactly know what he’s gotten himself into.

However, the new Jackrabbits baseball coach does know he’s taking over a team that has achieved a level of success most mid-major programs would strive for.

“It’s been a winning program. In college baseball, how many teams have put together back-to-back season like SDSU has? It’s an exciting time to be here and the program has been consistently good and that speaks to the type of people here,” Schrage said last week at SDSU’s fall media day.

Schrage is just settling into his new position after taking over head coaching duties on Aug. 8. He’s aware it will take some time get used to his new surroundings and players.

But that part won’t be new. Schrage’s stop at SDSU is his fifth Division I coaching job during his 23-year career, a mixture spanning work at Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois, Evansville, and most notably, Notre Dame.

“We’re well ahead of most of the programs I’ve taken over. When I took over at Notre Dame, they had the winning tradition and had been to the NCAAs. [SDSU] has won and they’re looking to take that next step,” Schrage said.

The 50-year-old is four wins away from 600 wins and made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament with Evansville in 2006, posting a 43-win season. For comparison, SDSU tied the school record for wins in 2011 with 39 wins before a defeat in the Summit League finals against perennial champion Oral Roberts. Schrage won the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year award three times — twice with UNI, once with Evansville — and gained accolades as one of the 10 best outfielders in Missouri Valley Conference history while playing for Creighton in the 1980’s.

Schrage and his wife, Kay, jumped at the opportunity to move to Brookings and get closer to her family, located in Fergus Falls, Minn.

“It was a great opportunity to get into a winning program and the other thing was the people here. We had heard so many good things about the people that are here  and the administration and I’m just very grateful.”

SDSU and former coach Ritchie Price – who left SDSU to serve as an assistant for his father at Kansas – sat as Summit League elite in large part to their offense. Last year, the Jacks led the conference in batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. But SDSU will lose a portion of that offensive firepower that managed 393 runs on the way to a 37-win season. They also lose MLB draft pick Blake Treinen, now pitching in the Oakland Athletics’ farm system.

“On paper, I know we’ve lost a lot. I know that if you’re going to win a championship, you have to be strong on the mound and you have be good defensively,” Schrage said. “We have 17 pitchers coming into camp this fall and so we’ll have some depth and guys competing for spots, which is good. I know I’ll have a better idea of where we’re at in October, that’s for sure.”