Brothers Dan and Dave Schmotzer were both two-sport athletes when they attended college at St. Edward’s University, playing basketball and baseball. After graduating, they returned to their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where they began their coaching careers at a local high school. Thanks to the flip of a coin, Dan became the basketball coach and Dave the baseball coach. Those designations stayed in place for the rest of their coaching careers.
Now, after almost 30 years at Coker, they both retired from coaching at the end of the 2015–16 school year. Starting in August, Dave will move to full-time teaching within the physical education department, and Dan will split his time between teaching in the physical education department and serving as Coker’s intramural director. Both men will be inducted into the Coker Athletics Hall of Fame in February 2017.
“I’ve been so lucky to be able to both coach and teach, and that my brother and I were able to do it together at a special place called Coker College.”
Dan has been the Cobras’ men’s basketball coach since 1987, compiling a record of 374–412. He has coached multiple all-conference, all-region, and All-American players, including four members of the Coker Athletics Hall of Fame: Dennis Woolfolk, Ray Henry, Monty Carr, and Dan Shanks, Coker’s most decorated men’s basketball player. In addition to his success on the basketball court, Dan spent six years as the head men’s golf coach at Coker from 1998–2003.
“I’ve been so lucky to be able to both coach and teach, and that my brother and I were able to do it together at a special place called Coker College,” said Dan. “I was able to coach athletes I recruited and teach students that Admissions recruited, and that’s special. I’m going to be able to still teach and still connect with the kids, and I look forward to that.”
Dave came to Coker in 1992 and retires with an all-time record of 637–497–2. Under Dave’s leadership, the Cobras captured seven conference titles, three conference tournament titles, and finished as tournament runner-up twice. The Cobras advanced to the NAIA World Series in 1994 and to the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2013. Dave has been named conference coach of the year five times, coach of the year twice, and is ranked №18 among winningest active coaches in NCAA Division II. He has coached two MLB Draft picks, John Crowther (1994, 2nd Rd.) and Zach Loraine (2013, 21st Rd.), while numerous players have gone on to sign free agent and independent league contracts during his time at Coker.
“One of the things that you learn as you get older is that everyone thinks it’s about baseball, about how many games you win or lose, but when you reflect back on it, it’s just a tool for learning,” said Dave. “It’s about helping these kids grow up. It’s not just teaching them how to hit, pitch, and run. In heartfelt retrospect, it goes way further than that. It’s cool to know you may have made a difference with some of the guys. That’s what I’ll miss the most.”
“This is certainly the end of an era,” said Coker College President Robert Wyatt. “They have spent 30 years personally caring about each of their players. Wherever these programs go next, it will be because of the foundation they built, and we are grateful for that.”