“We are very fortunate to be able to hire someone as experienced and successful as Brian Grunzke,” Schrage said. “He has a very extensive background as both a head and assistant coach. He is one of the finest recruiters in the Midwest and a great teacher of the game. We are very excited to have him join the Jackrabbit family.”
Grunzke has coached collegiately for nearly 30 years and most recently served as the first baseball coach at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He spent the 2009-10 academic year recruiting and building the foundation for the program’s entry into the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference. With a roster that included 20 freshmen, the Prairie Stars took the field for the first time in 2011 and posted an 8-35 overall record.
In 1990, Grunzke succeeded Schrage as head coach at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. Over 16 seasons, Grunzke compiled a 388-344-1 record in leading the Warriors to eight appearances in the NJCAA Region 11 finals. His 1994 squad posted 23 consecutive victories en route to a 40-win season and a berth in the regional championship. Late in his tenure he guided the program from junior college status to a four-year institution.
Overall, Grunzke has coached nine All-Americans, 24 all-region selections and seven players who pursued professional careers.
Following the 2006 campaign, Grunzke moved to the NCAA Division I level for the first time, serving as an assistant coach at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock for two seasons. He moved on to the University of Northern Iowa as assistant coach for the 2009 season, after which the Panther program was discontinued.
A native of Minnesota Lake, Minn., Grunzke earned an associate of arts degree from Waldorf and later completed his bachelor’s degree at UALR.
He is scheduled to begin his duties at South Dakota State on Aug. 24.