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Brian Schmack joined the Crusaders’ coaching staff as the team’s pitching coach prior to the 2007 season. Prior to the 2011 season, Schmack was promoted to associate head coach.
Schmack’s pitching staff helped guide the Crusaders to a school record-tying 35 victories in 2011 and the program’s first Horizon League regular season and tournament titles. Valpo earned a berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time since 1968 as well.
The Crusaders posted a 3.42 ERA on the season, tops in the Horizon League, and ranked sixth nationally with a 2.29 walk per nine inning ratio. Valpo’s hurlers were also among the top-50 programs in the country in walks/hits per innings pitched (WHIP).
The 2011 season saw the Crusaders advance to the Horizon League Tournament’s championship game.
In 2010, Schmack saw starting hurler Bryce Shafer earn Horizon League Pitcher of the Year honors after he posted a 7-4 record with 121 strikeouts for the Brown and Gold. Shafer went on to be drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. Left-hander Jon Gulbransen was also signed by the Chicago White Sox organization as a free agent following the 2011 campaign.
In his third season with the Crusaders, he guided a pitching staff which led the Horizon League in earned run average at 4.47. In addition, closer Jarad Miller has become the school’s save leader in just two years, while earning Third Team All-America accolades in 2009.
Since arriving at Valpo prior in 2007, a pair of pitchers have earned First Team All-Horizon League accolades, two others have earned Second Team All-Conference honors, and a pair have been named to the All-Newcomer Team.
Schmack pitched in professional baseball from 1995-2004 in the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Detroit Tigers organizations after breaking in with the Newark Bison of the Frontier League. In 2003, Schmack broke into the big leagues with the Tigers, appearing in 11 games and posting a 1-0 record with a 3.46 ERA. He earned his first major league victory against Cleveland on September 2, 2003.
At Erie, Schmack was named to TOPPS’ AA all-star squad in 2003, leading the Eastern League with 29 saves. In 2000, he tied for third in the International League (AAA) with 11 victories for Charlotte.
Schmack was the pitching coach at Elk Grove High School (Ill.) during the 2005 season and has also provided pitching instruction for many years to individuals throughout his career.
Schmack pitched collegiately at Northern Illinois University from 1992-1995. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management from Valparaiso University in 2009. He and his wife, Cari, have three children, Kyle born in 2001, and twins Ella and Riley born in 2004.