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Schafer to be named new Augie men's basketball coach

Schafer to be named new Augie men's basketball coach

Steve Schafer, Augie men's basketball coach

Steve Schafer

Information from multiple sources indicates that Augustana’s new men’s basketball coach is former Viking Steve Schafer.

An announcement is expected by the school on Wednesday.

Attempts to reach Schafer Tuesday evening were unsuccessful. 

Schafer and fellow Augie alum Jim Thomas were finalists along with California Institute of Technology coach Dr. Oliver Eslinger, and former Illinois Institute of Technology coach Todd Kelly, whose father, Wilbon, played at Augie in the 1970s.

Thomas, head boys coach at Downers Grove North High School, was the only finalist without college coaching experience.

All four finalists were on campus last week to interview for the position, which became vacant when Grey Giovanine retired in May after 21 seasons at the Viking helm.

Schafer has been head men’s basketball coach and athletic director at Benedictine University at Mesa. He was an administrator at the NAIA school for six years and head men’s basketball coach for five years. He accrued a 62-54 record, including a school record number of wins in an 18-12 2018-19 season.

Schafer has extensive experience on the Division III level, having coached at Fontbonne University in St. Louis for three seasons after spending time as an assistant coach at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill. His previous assistant coaching positions include CCIW rival North Park (2004-09) and Wayne State College (2001-04).

Schafer’s coaching career actually started during Giovanine’s second year at Augustana. When health issues ended his playing career after his junior season, Schafer was a student-assistant on Giovanine’s bench for the 2000-01 season.

He graduated from Augustana with a degree in speech communications in 2001 and earned his master’s degree from Wayne State in 2003.

Giovanine announced his retirement on May 5. In his 21 seasons at the school, the veteran coach compiled a school-record victory total, finishing with an impressive 433-150 mark. He went 214-88 in CCIW play, leading the Vikings to 10 regular-season titles. A regular in six straight NCAA Tournaments from 2014 to 2019, the Vikings logged national runner-up finishes in both 2015 and 2017. Giovanine coached 10 teams to national tourney play. 


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