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, who has been at Clarke for four years, has rapidly progressed each year from beginning as a student-assistant, then as a part-time assistant and this past year serving as the full-time assistant coach. Spain began the 2012 season as an assistant before finishing the year off as the interim head coach. He took over a team that was 6-22 with only a couple weeks of baseball left to play and finished the year with 11 wins. Although a positive way to finish the year, Spain was anything but satisfied.
"We finished the year out better than we started, but our goals still were not met. We have gained a much clearer perspective of what it takes to succeed in this conference and I am confident we will never be satisfied until we win the last game of the season."
Spain began his playing career at Marshalltown Community College, and after completing his degree, transferred to Iowa Wesleyan College. Following one year of playing with a team that went on to super regionals, Spain continued his career closer to home at Clarke. Going to Clarke allowed him to help on his family farm in Delmar, while continuing to get his degree and play baseball.
"I am blessed to have grown up on a farm, that lifestyle made me who I am today. The farm taught me how hard work pays off and how nothing is impossible to fix!"
As a player, Spain had a major impact of the Crusader program. Although he only played here his senior year, he was considered a leader and brought an expectation to this University to be great. Spain started every game at shortstop, hit .331 with 22 RBI and led a team to 11 more wins than its previous year. Spain had many options following his collegiate career as he was invited to multiple professional tryouts. Although his playing days would be greatly missed, he chose to begin his coaching career. In his first two years coaching, his duties consisted of being the hitting and position player coach. He was also responsible for recruiting freshman in the Midwest. His first recruiting class consisted of some of the most talented recruits in the Midwest and locally. Spain brought in freshman who immediately competed for playing time at the varsity level. That year Clarke baseball experienced its highest success yet, after finishing the year second in the conference and breaking multiple team and individual records.
In 2011 when Spain was named as the full-time assistant coach, he took on many duties including being named the recruiting coordinator and head junior varsity coach. From the beginning, one of Spain's greatest impacts he has had on Clarke has been his ability to recruit and bring in individuals who are not only very talented, but also understands what it takes to be a successful student-athlete. With the recruits who have already committed and the ones who are near commitment, this year's 2012-2013 recruiting class is expected to be one of the best in Clarke baseball history.
Although the 2012 season did not go as expected, Spain learned a lot from his experiences.
"This has been one of the toughest, but best coaching experiences I have had. Because of this season and its experiences it has brought me, I now feel ready to build this program and develop student-athletes capable of meeting my expectations and representing Clarke University in the right way. I'm a firm believer that until you've done something, you've done nothing, so I look forward to proving myself, the community and my players that Clarke baseball will hold itself to the highest standard of collegiate baseball."