MITCHELL, S.D. – After six years as the head coach of the Dakota Wesleyan University baseball program, Steve Gust is stepping down, DWU Athletic Director Curt Hart announced Tuesday afternoon.
Gust, who led the Tigers to the championship game of the Great Plains Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament in May, has accepted the head coaching position at the University of Minnesota Crookston, an NCAA Division II school that competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Gust, who came to Dakota Wesleyan from Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks, Minn., and has family in and around the Grand Forks and Fargo area, said the chance to be closer to family played a large role in his decision.
“I am excited for the chance to coach at the NCAA Division II level, but also to be closer to my family,” Gust said. “That said, I can’t begin to express my appreciation to Curt Hart, Jon Hart, Amy Novak and the entire administration for their support over the last six years. I couldn’t be more proud of our student-athletes and what we’ve accomplished.”
In six seasons at the helm of the Tiger baseball program, Gust went 154-157, including a 27-24 mark in 2014. DWU earned the fifth seed in the GPAC postseason tournament this year, and made it to the championship game before losing to Midland University. He has coached 48 All-GPAC athletes, including one pitcher-of-the-year and one player-of-the-year. He has also coached three GPAC Gold Glove winners, two NAIA All-Americans and 11 NAIA Scholar-Athletes.
“Coach Gust has been a constant blessing to the athletic department over the last six seasons,” DWU Associate Athletic Director Jon Hart said. “He has more knowledge, passion and respect for the game than anyone I have ever been around. His recruiting record and accomplishments speak for themselves, and we wish him nothing but the best at UMC.”
Gust won 30 or more games in each of his first two seasons at Dakota Wesleyan, and in 2009 he guided the Tigers to a 35-18 record, the GPAC tournament title and their first-ever appearance in the opening round of the NAIA World Series.
“I want to thank Steve for everything he has done for the Dakota Wesleyan baseball program,” Curt Hart said. “He has brought much success to the program, and I wish him the same at Crookston. We are sorry to see him go, but happy that he has this opportunity to coach closer to home.”
Gust takes over a Crookston team that went 1-47 overall and 0-36 in the NSIC in 2014. He will wrap up at Dakota Wesleyan in late June and start his duties at UMC after that. Hart said the search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
Courtesy: DWU Leah Rado