College baseball

Schreiber has his Boilermakers poised for NCAA tourney bid

2012-04-25T22:30:00Z 2012-04-30T19:40:35Z Schreiber has his Boilermakers poised for NCAA tourney bidBy Al Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
April 25, 2012 10:30 pm  • 

Lengendary high school coach Ken Schreiber wasn't one of those baseball dads who stood behind the backstop at games, muttering obscenities when their little boys booted a ball or whiffed.

He didn't place a fielder's glove and Nerf ball in their crib as newborns, praying they'd get the hint.

Doug Schreiber, one of Ken's five sons, has done quite well on his own, thank you, as Purdue's winningest head coach ever.

A doubleheader sweep of Illinois on April 15 gave Schreiber his 408th career victory, eclipsing the 407 wins of previous baseball coach Dave Alexander (1978-91).

"I grew up around the game so it was always important to me," Schreiber said. "From being a batboy to keeping the scoreboard to being at Dad's practices and games definitely instilled my interest.

"We played all the sports but when you grow up in LaPorte, baseball for us was the most important."

There was no pressure to be an athlete, however.

"When he would come watch our Little League games, he sat way down the right-field line," Doug Schreiber said. "He let our Little League coaches coach us and our Babe Ruth coaches coach us.

"He never really coached us until high school."

And it was there — with seven state championships, one national title, and an unbelievable 1,010-217 record for 31 years — that Ken Schreiber was the master of his kingdom.

Doug Schreiber went on to build a nice coaching resume as an assistant at Ball State, Butler, Notre Dame and then Arizona State.

His Boilermakers are now 32-6 overall, atop the Big Ten at 12-3, and ranked high in four national polls.

Winning the conference tourney next month would give them their first NCAA tourney bid since 1987.

"I'm a little humbled by all the attention," Schreiber said. "To me, it's a longevity record. I told somebody: 'Are you gonna cover my 400th loss because that's coming up shortly as well.'

"What (the record) really means is I've been very fortunate to be part of a solid baseball program at a university that supports it, and has had quality assistant coaches and good players."

Even so, the turnover rate on college rosters makes it a constant challenge to be competitive.

"You can get players for a year and then they can go into the draft," Schreiber said. "We lose our seniors to graduation, then we'll possibly lose our top juniors — who are typically your best players — to the draft.

"And even in your recruiting class, you're not sure if you're gonna hang onto them."

Schreiber, now in his 14th season, said he regards the region as a recruiting hotbed of baseball talent.

"You're gonna get hard-nosed kids who appreciate the opportunity," he added. "We got (Blake) Mascarello from Crown Point, (Ryan) Bridges from Griffith, a Munster kid (Mike Sudbury) and a couple of LaPorte kids (Kyle Upp, Connor Podkul).

"Those (region) guys are hardworking and blue collar who represent it well."

Ken Schreiber calls the job Doug has done "the best kept secret around" because college polls never appear in the paper.

"He's got the personality to deal with the college-age kid," Ken said. "It's not a slam-bam, yell, kind of thing I was guilty of."

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