When Steve Saladino decided to step down as Davenport West's softball coach after the summer, activities director Kevin Petersen knew it would be difficult to find a replacement to fill Saladino's shoes.

Saladino was West's coach for more than 35 seasons, compiled more than 1,160 career victories and had the Falcons in the upper half of the Mississippi Athletic Conference every season.

"Community-wise and school-wise, it was a big position for us to fill," Petersen said. "We wanted to make sure we got it right."

West believes it has with 43-year-old Jake Schumann.

Schumann has nearly two decades of college coaching experience with almost 500 wins on his resume.

He's had coaching stops at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Carl Albert State College (Oklahoma), Texas A&M-Kingsville, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Ole Miss, Florida International and recently an assistant at Iowa.

"After a couple years at Iowa, we decided for family reasons to get out of the college game," said Schumann, whose wife, Sharon, also has coaching experience. "We were just gone way too much. There wasn't much work-life balance. It was mostly work.

"It's always been in my blood to coach, so when the job came available at West, I applied for it. West has a great tradition of winning, so it was a no-brainer for me when I was offered the job."

Schumann is from St. Paul, Minn. He's coached mostly in the south before coming to Iowa. His mother lives in Osage and his wife is from Grand Rapids, Mich.

"It was a perfect fit for us, a middle meeting ground for our family," Schumann said.

Schumann teaches behavior disorder and mentally disabled students at Wood Intermediate School in Davenport.

"The biggest adjustment for me will be the ins and outs of the game," Schumann said. "It will take me back to my junior college roots of doing everything a coach has to do, from turning in stats to checking on grades and attendance of your players.

"I've been spoiled the last few years having other people do that."

West made the state tournament two seasons ago and reached the regional final this past season with a 32-9 mark. The Falcons had three senior stalwarts on that team with slugger Lexy Monty, catcher Paige Roehlk and infielder Rachel Stewart.

Still, Schumann was drawn to West's success and nucleus in place.

"Having some kids come back from a state tournament team is a nice catch," he said. "Every place I've been has been a (program) builder. This is something new. Sal did an awesome job of building this program and maintaining it.

"I hope I can maintain the winning tradition and add some new stuff."

Hitting is Schumann's forte. He helped guide Ole Miss' offense to record-setting marks in batting average, runs scored, RBIs, home runs and steals.

His style of play will be to put pressure on the defense.

"I've been a hitting guy my whole life," Schumann said. "We'll focus on a team approach and quality at-bats. If we have the horses to run, we'll run. If we can hit and run, we're going to try and create as much chaos as possible."

Schumann said it is yet to be determined if his wife will join his staff. She pitched professionally and has five years of Division I experience.

"We have an (assistant coach) opening so hopefully she'll apply for it," Schumann said. "We've worked together in the past, so hopefully we can continue to do that."


Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.