Steve Schafer has been named Augustana men’s basketball coach, the university announced Wednesday.
Schafer, a 2001 graduate of Augustana, will replace Grey Giovanine, who retired on May 5 after compiling a record of 433-150 in 21 seasons.
“I am honored to be selected as the next head men’s basketball coach at Augustana College. I want to thank President Bahls, Vice President Barnds and Vice President Brooks for taking the time to meet with me during this process. Their leadership, vision and support for Augustana College and the athletics department is undeniable,” said Schafer. “I would also like to thank Athletic Director Mike Zapolski for his leadership during this coaching search and entrusting me with this once in a lifetime opportunity. I look forward to his mentorship. Lastly I would like to thank coach Grey Giovanine for the incredible culture he and his staff has built around Augustana Basketball. I am elated to be back home where it all began for me 20 years ago and cannot wait to get started.”
Schafer comes to Augustana after a five-year stint as the head men’s basketball coach and director of athletics at Benedictine-Mesa University in Mesa, Arizona.
“I am extremely pleased to welcome Steve Schafer back to Augustana as our next head men’s basketball coach,” said Augustana Director of Athletics Mike Zapolski. “Steve’s administrative background and extensive coaching experiences at multiple small colleges have prepared him well for the challenges and opportunities ahead. I look forward to partnering with Steve, his staff and our student-athletes to continue the rich, storied tradition of Augustana men’s basketball.”
Prior to starting the athletics program at Benedictine-Mesa, Schafer was the head men’s basketball coach at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri. He improved the Griffins’ victory total in each of his three seasons.
He graduated from Augustana in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in speech communications and he has a Master’s of Science in Education from Wayne State (Nebraska) with an emphasis on sports management.
A native of Batavia, Illinois, Schafer was a member of the Augustana men’s basketball team from 1997 through 2000 but his playing time was limited by injuries. He served as a student-assistant for the men’s program under Giovanine in his senior year of 2000-01.
Schafer will be leading a Viking basketball program that owns 18 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championships and has made seven national Final Four appearances. Over the last six years, Augustana has averaged nearly 25 wins per season, won five CCIW titles and made five trips to the NCAA Division III Tournament, including national runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2017.