Joe Schaefer Named Northwest Nazarene Baseball Coach
Joe Schaefer oversaw a successful transition for PLNU from NAIA to NCAA play while compiling a 341-217 record in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Point Loma Nazarene Univ.
Joe Schaefer oversaw a successful transition for PLNU from NAIA to NCAA play while compiling a 341-217 record in San Diego. Photo courtesy of Point Loma Nazarene Univ.

Monday, July 23, 2018
by Northwest Nazarene Athletic Communications

NAMPA, Idaho – Northwest Nazarene hired Joe Schaefer as the 16th baseball coach in program history.

Schaefer replaces Rocke Musgraves, who resigned to return to Louisiana at the end of the 2017-18 season. Schaefer comes to NNU from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, Calif., where he has been the head coach since 2009.

"We're just super excited about the opportunity," Schaefer said. "I think from a baseball standpoint, NNU could be a really big deal in the GNAC and the West region. That is something that caught my eye."

Schaefer, who graduated from Point Loma in 2003, compiled a 341-217 record with the Sea Lions in his 10 years as head coach at the San Diego, Calif. school. He was an assistant coach for five years before that.

"We feel incredibly blessed to have Coach Schaefer stepping in as the next leader of NNU baseball," NNU athletic director Kelli Lindley said. "He has a proven track record of excellence on and off the field. I have no doubt he will make an immediate impact on our campus, within our community, on the baseball field and in the lives of the young men he leads.

"We are so excited to welcome Coach Schaefer and his family to NNU."

Point Loma qualified for the NCAA tournament twice in the first four years of eligibility under Schaefer (2015 and 2018). He was a two-time NAIA Regional Coach of the Year (2009 and 2010), led the program to the NAIA World Series in 2009 and 2010 and has had 16 former players sign professional contracts.

That success is part of the reason Lindley and NNU chose Schaefer as their next head coach.

"As our teams have won more and more athletic and academic championships at the NCAA Division II level," Lindley said, "NNU Athletics has been able to attract exceptional coaches like Coach Schaefer. I look forward to working with him as we strive to make our athletic department and baseball team one of the best in Division II."

Schaefer's teams not only had success on the field, but off of it. The Sea Lions were recently ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II with an academic success rate of 98 percent. They have finished in the top three of Division II for three consecutive years.

All of that success made it hard for Schaefer to leave his alma mater, but he felt like this opportunity was too good to pass up.

"My wife (Cheryl) and I have been at Point Loma for virtually our entire lives and didn't think we'd leave until the Lord opened this door," he said. "It checked every box for family, quality of life, quality of the job and opportunity to win."

Schaefer will move to Idaho with his wife, and three sons Brayden, Riley and Cannon.

Schaefer said he is even ready for the cold winters. He's trading in Point Loma's famous campus beach for four distinct seasons in Idaho.

"I think the Treasure Valley is very appealing," he said. "The cold and snow don't scare me. We think it is beautiful. It is an opportunity to be in a really great part of the country where you can do so many things outdoors and be a part of a smaller, tight-knit town."

The Nighthawks are coming off of a 19-31 season, finishing fifth in the GNAC though just two games out of a playoff spot. They won the first GNAC regular season and conference tournament title in program history in 2016 under Musgraves.