NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Trevecca will begin the NCAA Division ll era with a new face heading up the baseball program. TNU director of athletics Mark Elliott has chosen Ryan Schmalz to serve as the next Trojan baseball coach. Schmalz comes to Trevecca having served the last seven years as an assistant to Jeff Sziksai at NCAA Division ll Lincoln Memorial University. Schmalz also served two years as an assistant at NCAA Division l Morehead State University prior to his lengthy stint at LMU.
Mark Elliott & Ryan Schmalz on 102.5 the Game HERE
Elliott in announcing Schmalz's hire said, "Our intent from the beginning was to find a person who would become the Chief Executive Officer of our baseball program. I use the term 'C.E.O.' because, in my opinion, this is so much more than just a baseball coaching position." Elliott continued, "Ryan emerged as that person after a very intense search of over 200 applicants. He is spiritually motivated, he has a solid baseball background, he is experienced with NCAA recruiting, he has deep family convictions, and he understands the spiritual and academic mission of our school."
City Paper article on Schmalz HERE
Elliott then placed the following charge on himself and the entire Trevecca community, "Our collective challenge (the school, the athletic department, Ryan, his staff, the players, our alumni and fans) is to be in the NCAA Division II World Series in four years."
Schmalz, 32, will be the ninth Trevecca coach when the 43rd season of Trojan baseball begins in the Spring of 2013. He replaces Mike Lord who resigned, due to family concerns in his native California, following his first and only season at the helm of the program.
In addition to his success as an assistant at the NCAA level, Schmalz played for two NAIA World Series teams at Olivet Nazarene University. These successful experiences give Schmalz confidence to make the jump to the head coaching position at Trevecca. Schmalz commented, "I am humbled and blessed to be a part of the Trevecca Nazarene University community. Trevecca has a rich baseball tradition and we plan to build upon that foundation as we move forward into the NCAA world."
"Trevecca's mission, location, facilities, quality of education, and overall campus appeal, make this job one of the most attractive baseball jobs in the region," Schmalz noted. "I am energized by the vision that Mark Elliott and others have for TNU athletics. I truly believe that TNU will be one of the elite NCAA Division II institutions in the nation."
"The baseball program will be very focused on recruiting the best athletes in Middle Tennessee, and surrounding areas, and developing them to reach their maximum potential, both on and off the field. We will focus on developing players not only physically but spiritually, academically, emotionally, and socially. Our vision is that after leaving TNU, our players will be prepared for handling the challenges that will come their way."
Schmalz, who has already been at work more than a week ahead of his scheduled start date, is eager to help Trojan Baseball win the first-ever G-MAC Baseball Championship, he said his vision for the program starts with pitching and defense, "My vision for TNU Baseball is to be an elite NCAA Division II team that will be a perennial championship contender. There are a lot of ways to win baseball games. A common thread that all championship teams have is tremendous pitching and defense. It is really hard to win without those things, and that will be a focus in the recruiting and development process."
Schmalz began his coaching career at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, a NCAA Division l program in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). While with the Eagles Schmalz was fortunate enough to coach the OVC player of the year in Lance Seasor and Chicago White Sox draft pick Henry Mabee. With Schmalz on staff the program improved by 15 wins. The 2005 team led the OVC in slugging %, runs scored, RBI, doubles, homeruns, total bases which aided the increase from 14 wins in 2004 to 28 in 2005.
He comes to Trevecca from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. The Railsplitters are members of the NCAA Division ll South Atlantic Conference. LMU had 20 all-conference players and were ranked in the top 20 nationally in eight different NCAA D II categories. The program saw eight different players drafted or signed while Schmalz was recruiting coordinator. The program grew dramatically while Schmalz was on the staff. From 2003 to 2005, the three years prior to Schmalz's arrival, the program averaged 12 wins, a .263 batting average, .42 home runs per game, a .718 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) and 5.36 runs per game. During Schmalz's time (2006-2012) those numbers rose to an average of 28 wins, a .315 batting average, .90 home runs per game, a .878 OPS, and 7.70 runs per game. Another highlight was coaching 2012 NCAA Division ll All-American Andre Rodriquez.
Schmalz finished his college career at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. There he played for Trevecca Hall of Famer Elliot Johnson and the Tigers first two NAIA World Series teams. He was the president of ONU's Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization. His first two years of college ball were spent as a junior college player.
His undergraduate degree is from Olivet where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management. He obtained his Master of Arts degree from Morehead State University.
Schmalz is married to Rebecca Geasa Schmalz and together they have two daughters, Molly and Jane.
While at Olivet Schmalz played with Ben Zobrist who is now with the Tampa Bay Rays. Zobrist says, "Ryan Schmalz is a great friend and man of Godly character who pursues excellence in every area of his life. TNU and the young men on his team will be blessed by his knowledge and passion for the game as well as his ability to connect and lead them as they compete to glorify Christ. "
Note: Zobrist, who is an Major League Baseball player and All-Star with the Tampa Bay Rays, and Schmalz played together at Olivet Nazarene University and have remained friends.
Former Trevecca baseball coach Elliot Johnson says, "Congratulations to Ryan Schmalz on becoming the new head coach at Trevecca! Ryan was a dedicated player with a very positive influence, and I'm sure he'll do well as a head coach. I'll be rooting for him to have great success at TNU!"
Note: Johnson coached at Trevecca for 11 years and is in the Trevecca and ABCA (American Baseball Coaches Association) Hall of Fame. He later coached at Olivet Nazarene University where he led the Tigers to the NAIA World Series on two occasions. Ryan Schmalz was on both of those teams.
Jeff Sziksai, head baseball coach at Lincoln Memorial University, said, "I am so excited for Ryan and his family. He is so deserving of this opportunity, and while I am saddened to lose a great assistant and friend, I know he will do an outstanding job at TNU," Sziksai continued, "Ryan has been the consummate professional in his time at LMU. He has been incredibly loyal and hard-working, two characteristics that I value above all others within our program. He has paid his dues, and his reputation as a tireless worker and recruiter makes him an obvious choice to be a head coach."
"Ryan will be dearly missed by our current and former players, co-workers and this community. We are losing a great person, and great representative of the Blue and Gray. I wish my friend all the best in his new position."