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Dan Spain, of Delmar, Iowa, joined the collegiate head coaching ranks in May 2012 when he was named Clarke University's head baseball coach.
Spain, a graduate of Maquoketa High School, began his playing collegiate career at Marshalltown Community College. Following the completion of his Associates Degree he transferred to Iowa Wesleyan College. After the completion of his junior year of playing on a team that went on to super-regionals, Spain took his talents to Clarke. “Making the decision to move on and finish my playing career, along with my degree at Clarke was tough, but worked out to be the right decision. I grew up on the farm and was anxious to move closer to my family where I could contribute in different ways.”
As a player, Spain had an immediate impact on the Clarke baseball program. Spain started every game at shortstop, hit .331 and led a team to 11 more wins than its previous year. Following his senior year, Spain began his coaching career. In his first two years coaching, he was responsible for working with hitters and infielders. In 2010 Clarke baseball experienced its most success up to that point, finishing the year second in the conference and breaking multiple team and individual records.
The 2011-12 season was another benchmark in his coaching career when he accepted the responsibilities as the full-time assistant. Duties included being named the recruiting coordinator and head junior varsity coach. Spain began the 2011-12 season as an assistant before finishing the year off as the Interim Head Coach, where he took over a team that was 6-22 with a few weeks in the season left and finished the year with 11 wins.
In his first full season as a head coach Spain’s 2013 baseball team had the best season in Clarke baseball history by rewriting the record books including surpassing the single season wins mark of 24. Pitching was the key in 2013 with a pitching staff that set 8 team records and 4 different individual records. “Pitching and defense are two things we really took a lot of pride in. With multiple gold glove winners on the field, we were able to find some comfort pitching to contact. We were blessed to have such a dedicated and hardworking pitching staff full of guys from top to bottom who know the game and understand how to pitch. When you have guys that pound the zone each and every time they step on the mound, you know you are going to have a good chance to win every game.” Along with strong pitching, Spain’s Crusader offense had some major contributions from many different players. “The most rewarding aspect of this team was how we had so many guys contributing in many different ways offensively. Getting on base was key for us in being able to utilize our best weapon offensively, which was our speed and base running ability.” School record 117 stolen bases.
With so many guys having career seasons, the Crusaders racked up the most All-Conference award winners in the Midwest Collegiate Conference with nine All-Conference selections including conference leading four 1st team performers, as well as two Gold Glove award winners.
- 10 All Conference Players
- 2 Gold Glove Winners
- 10 Academic All Conference
- 9 NAIA Scholar Athletes
- 2 Academic All District
- 1 Professional Contract (Dustin Sandberg, Pecos League)
- 4 Individual School Records
- 10 Team Season School Records
- Earned a 3.06 team GPA
“The success we were able to have both on the field and off this year laid the foundation for the future of this program. It is difficult looking back knowing we had an opportunity to accomplish more, being so close going into the final stretch of the season and for us to not play our best ball is unfortunate. With that said, we had a group of guys who sacrificed so much to this team, as well as a coaching staff who worked extremely hard day in and day out. My assistant coaches deserve as much credit for any accomplishments this program has out of anyone. Graduating 11 seniors has its challenges, but also gives new faces opportunities to step up as leaders. It will be exciting to see what this team will be able to accomplish.”