SDSU grabbed experience over youth in signing Dave Schrage as new baseball coach for a program steadily on the rise.
A 23-year veteran of coaching college baseball – the last 20 at the Division I level -Schrage, 50, will take over a Jackrabbit baseball program that has set team records for wins but has yet to qualify for a Division I NCAA Tournament.
“I am very humbled and appreciative for this opportunity,” Schrage said in a statement. “I would like to thank the search committee, the staff, the head coaches, and especially (athletic director) Justin Sell for hiring me to lead the baseball program. I was so impressed with the quality of people when I visited campus. It is a great time to come to South Dakota State University. “
Schrage has a career record of 596-662-1 with coaching stops at Waldorf College, Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois, Evansville and most recently as head at Notre Dame from 2007-10. Schrage has seen 38 of his former players go on to play professional baseball.
Sell said that the interest in the SDSU job was very competitive, with a field of applicants totaling nearly 100, including numerous seekers from power conferences.
“People are excited about what’s happening in our baseball program,” Sell said. “When you get a quality pool of candidates, not only in numbers but in terms of the quality of the applicants, I think that speaks volumes about the where we’re at as a university.”
“I think he brings some experience in building programs in having built several different programs, many of them with a lot less resources than what we have [at SDSU]. Ultimately, we want people who want to be a part of something special and that’s doing things that have never been done before, including making an NCAA Regional,” Sell said.
Schrage will take over the helm from Ritchie Price, who resigned in June and returned to his alma mater, Kansas as an assistant coach. SDSU has averaged 38 wins the past two season, including tying a program-high 39 wins in 2010.