Dave Schrage, Butler Bulldogs

Butler Bulldogs

Dave Schrage, who has led six baseball programs to success, was hired as head coach of the Butler Bulldogs prior to the 2017 season. He arrived on campus with 28 seasons of collegiate head coaching experience, having spent the previous five seasons at South Dakota State.

The Butler Bulldogs went 31-20 in 2017, which was Schrage’s first season as the team’s head coach. He inherited a team that won only 14 games in 2016. The Butler Bulldogs have maintained their momentum in 2018 by winning their first eight games. That marks the first time Butler has started a college baseball season with an 8-0 record since at least 1979.

Schrage has won 732 career games during head coaching stops at SDSU, Notre Dame, Evansville, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, and Waldorf (Iowa). In 28 seasons as a collegiate head coach, he has coached players who have earned all-conference honors 75 times and 47 of his former student-athletes have gone on to play professionally. Ten of his players have earned Freshman All-American accolades.

“After a thorough search of an impressive applicant field, we are very pleased to welcome Dave Schrage as Butler’s new head baseball coach,” said Collier. “Throughout the interview process and in conversations with those who have known him over the years, we learned that Dave embodies the ideals found in The Butler Way, and will be a great ambassador for Butler and mentor to our student-athletes. Dave brings experience as the head coach at five Midwest Division I programs, and he has the enthusiasm and vision to build a winning program at Butler.”

Schrage was hired to take over the reins of the Jackrabbit baseball program prior to the 2012 season. After posting an 18-33-1 record in his first season at South Dakota State, Schrage directed a big turnaround in 2013, leading SDSU its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament at the Division I level. The Jackrabbits, who ended the season with a 35-24 overall record, won their inaugural Summit League postseason tournament title and advanced to the Eugene Regional of the NCAA Tournament.

The Jackrabbits again contended for a Summit League title during the 2015 season, posting an overall record of 33-23 and a second-place mark of 18-11 in league play. Schrage led SDSU to Summit League Tournament appearances in four of his five seasons.

Prior to South Dakota State, Schrage was head coach at Notre Dame for four seasons, leading the Fighting Irish to a 119-104-1 record from 2007-10. After posting a .500 record (28-28) his first season in South Bend, Schrage put Notre Dame back in contention for postseason play with a 33-21-1 record in 2008 and a 36-23 mark in 2009.

Schrage has previously found success in building programs, including a four-year stint at Evansville from 2003-06, during which he guided the Purple Aces to a 130-108 record. Evansville improved its win total each of his four seasons, from 24 in 2003 to 43 in 2006. Schrage earned Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors for the third time in 2006 as Evansville won both the regular season and tournament conference titles, earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Purple Aces advanced all the way to the finals of the Charlottesville Regional, knocking off host Virginia before falling to South Carolina in the championship.

A Chicago native, Schrage directed a dramatic turnaround in his home state during a three-year run at Northern Illinois from 2000-02. After inheriting a team that was 4-51-1 the year before he arrived, Schrage’s squad turned in a 20-game improvement with a 24-33 record in his first season and then led the Huskies to a winning season in 2001 with a 28-27 overall mark. He was named runner-up for National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper in 2000.

Schrage began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at St. Thomas University (Fla.) in 1984. He later returned to his alma mater, Creighton University, as an assistant coach for two seasons.

From 1986-87, Schrage coached the Queensland Rams club team in Brisbane, Australia, before returning stateside as he gained his first head coaching job at Waldorf College, a junior college in Forest City, Iowa (1988-90).

Schrage then spent nine seasons as head coach at the University of Northern Iowa, where he was named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1997. His teams improved from two league victories in UNI’s first season in the MVC in 1992 to 18 during the 1997 campaign.

As a collegiate player, Schrage was an all-conference outfielder at Creighton, batting .400 as a junior and .433 his senior season. He also was an Academic All-America honoree during his senior campaign in 1983. Schrage was honored on the MVC’s Centennial Celebration baseball team and is the only person in league history to earn all-conference honors and be named MVC Coach of the Year in baseball.

Schrage is married (wife, Kay), and has two daughters (Katy and Bri) and one stepson (Jason). Katy is a 2013 graduate of Butler.

Coaching Experience

St. Thomas University (Fla.), Graduate Assistant – 1984
Creighton, Assistant Coach – 1985-86
Queensland Rams Club Team (Brisbane, Australia), Player/Coach – 1986-87
Waldorf (Iowa), Head Coach (61-66 Record) – 1988-90
Northern Iowa, Head Coach (211-291 Record) – 1991-99
Northern Illinois, Head Coach (75-92 Record) – 2000-02
Evansville, Head Coach (130-108 Record) – 2003-06
Notre Dame, Head Coach (119-104-1 Record) – 2007-10
South Dakota State, Head Coach (136-144-1 Record) – 2012-16

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).