Creighton Baseball Camps
Head Coach Ed Servais
Ed Servais enters his seventh season in 2010 at the helm of the Bluejay baseball program in 2009-10. His .647 winning percentage is the best in school history and he has averaged nearly 40 wins a season during his time as head coach. Servais has taken the Jays to two NCAA Tournaments and has won the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year award three times in his five seasons.
Servais' tenure has been the most successful of any Creighton baseball coach, as he has guided the team to a 227-124 record, good for second in the Missouri Valley Conference, fifth in the Midwest, and 28th in the nation. The Bluejays are one of just 10 schools in the Midwest to earn four or more NCAA Regional berths in the last 10 years, and only the second in the MVC.
In 2009 the Bluejays came within one win of its third NCAA Tournament in five years, as it reached the MVC Championship game before falling to Wichita State 4-2. Defense set the tone for the squad as it finished with a .984 fielding percentage, tops in the nation and the best in NCAA history during the aluminum bat era.
Individually Servais coached seven All-MVC selections the most since taking the reins in 2004. He also saw first baseman Darin Ruf come up just 38 putouts shy of the NCAA record, finishing with 2,251 during his four years.
In 2008, the Creighton skipper guided the team to another strong season, especially on the defensive side. The Bluejays who were 37-21 overall, posted a .976 fielding percentage, good for 3rd in the nation, after committing only 52 errors in 58 games. In four of Servais' five years on the bench, Creighton has finished in the top 20 in the nation defensively, has finished in the top 10 three times, and in the top three twice. The team's 37 wins were the fourth year it had over 35 wins.
Fundamentals played a key in the 2008 season. Besides defense, Creighton was also near the top of the nation in sacrifice bunts as well as shutouts. Individually the Bluejays featured four all-MVC picks in 2008, as Pat Venditte, Darin Ruf, Robby Knight and Steve Winkelmann all earned accolades.
In 2007, Servais led Creighton to 45 wins and the first Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championship in school history. Servais was named the MVC Coach of the Year for the third time in four seasons as the Jays advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. Creighton won 26 of their final 31 games, including a memorable 10-9, 12-inning victory over 12th-ranked Wichita State in the finals of the MVC Tournament. The 2007 season saw 12 school records broken and the Bluejays' second season series victory over in-state rival Nebraska under Servais' guidance.
Individual accolades came in bunches with the successful 2007 season under Servais. Sophomore first baseman Darin Ruf was named the Joe Carter MVC Player of the Year, junior southpaw Ben Mancuso was the MVC Pitcher of the Year, and senior transfer Andy Masten was the league's newcomer of the year. Mancuso and junior ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte both were selected to All-American teams, while freshman hurler Casey Schmidt earned Freshman All-America honors.
The 2006 team finished with a record of 31-21 overall and placed fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 13-11 record. Servais guided Creighton to its third-consecutive 30-win season, becoming the third coach in school history to win 30 games in each of his first three seasons.
In 2005, the Bluejays had one of the best seasons in school history. Servais coached the Bluejays to a 48-17 record, the school’s first-ever Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship and the team's first NCAA postseason appearance since 2000. The squad's 48 wins were the second-most in program history, behind only the 51 games won by the 1991 College World Series team. Servais also brought home his second MVC Coach of the Year award in as many seasons.
Creighton ended the 2005 campaign nationally ranked for the first time since 2000, including a No. 28 ranking from Collegiate Baseball. Servais also led the Jays to a 5-3 victory against No. 3 Nebraska in front of more than 20,000 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium during the regular season.
In 2004, Servais was honored as the MVC Coach of the Year, the first time in league history it was awarded to a first-year coach. Creighton’s 15-win improvement from its 2003 record was the fifth-best turnaround in the NCAA that year and the largest in the MVC since 1991. Servais led the Bluejays to 35 wins, including a school-record 22 Missouri Valley Conference victories.
Known as a coach who emphasizes the importance of team defense, his first season didn’t disappoint. Creighton’s .982 fielding percentage in 2004 led the country and was the second-best mark in NCAA history. In 2005, the Bluejays led the nation in double plays turned with 85 and set a team record for assists with 803. Creighton led The Valley in fielding again in 2005 with a .972 fielding percentage. Since Servais took over, Creighton's .976 overall fielding percentage, 329 errors and 1.08 double plays turned per game all lead the country.
Servais has coached 21 players that received All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in his first four seasons. In addition, 12 players have been named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team during that span. Creighton's four selections in 2005 were the most of any Valley team.
Servais was named head coach on July 29, 2003 after serving as the program’s interim head coach for the previous month. He succeeded Jack Dahm, who resigned after 10 years as head coach in late June.
"During Ed's first four seasons at Creighton, he has established our baseball program as one of the most fundamentally sound, over-achieving programs in the country,” said Creighton Director of Athletics Bruce Rasmussen. “Ed is a great teacher of the game of baseball and his program has done a tremendous job of representing themselves and Creighton University."
Servais came to Creighton on August 25, 1997, when Dahm named him an assistant on his staff. As an assistant, Servais was on the bench for 174 Creighton wins, including a pair of NCAA Regional berths in 1999 and 2000. He was also on staff when Dahm was named MVC Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2002. With the help of Servais’ instruction, the 2002 edition of the Bluejays finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference.
During his time as associate head coach, Servais served as Creighton’s hitting and first base coach, as well as the defensive infield coach. He also served as Dahm’s recruiting coordinator.
He made an immediate impact on the program in his first year, as the Bluejays ranked among the nation’s top defensive teams with a .965 fielding percentage in 1998. The team’s offensive numbers also increased significantly as the team batting average went up 29 points to .313. The run production also increased from 6.9 to 7.5 runs per game.
His most talented team was in 1999. That Bluejay squad hit .326 and averaged nearly eight runs per game. Ryan Gripp was named a first-team ABCA All-American following that season and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the third round of the MLB amateur draft.
Gripp is just one of a handful of Creighton student-athletes Servais has coached who have gone on to play professional baseball. They include Tim Gradoville (2000-02), Dan Lawler (1998-2001), Vince Pietro (1997-2000), Kenny Sarna (1997-2000), Kevin Frederick (1995-98), Peyton Lewis (1999), Dan Gooris (1998-2001), Tom Oldham (2001-2003), Ryan Fitzgerald (2002-03), Steve Grasley (2001-04), Eric Wordekemper (2003-05), Tony Roth (2002-05), Zach Daeges (2003-2006), Adam Schaecher (2003-2006), Chase Odenreider (2004-2006), Chris Gradoville (2004-07), Marc Lewis (2004-07), Chad Ogden (2006-07), Pat Venditte (2005-08), Vicente Cafaro (2008-09) and Darin Ruf (2006-09).
Five seasons ago, as part of his job as infield coach, he helped make Tony Roth into an honorable mention all-MVC player. Roth was named conference Freshman of the Year in 2002 and was also a freshman All-American selection by Collegiate Baseball. That same year, second baseman Chris Hinrichs and shortstop Scott Allen were each named honorable mention all-MVC, making for a combination that turned 54 double plays, which ranked among NCAA leaders. Catcher Tim Gradoville was also named honorable mention all-MVC in 2002.
As part of his job as first base coach, Servais helped that same 2002 team rank ninth in the country with 2.19 stolen bases per game. In addition to the team-leading 27 stolen bases from Hinrichs, seven other players swiped eight or more bases.
Prior to coming to Creighton, Servais spent two years as an assistant coach at Iowa State University. During his time at ISU, he served as recruiting coordinator, hitting instructor, infield and outfield coach. He helped lead the Cyclones to a second-place finish at the final Big Eight Conference tournament in 1996.
Before his time at Iowa State, Servais was the head coach at St. Mary’s (Minn.) for seven years from 1989-1995. While at St. Mary’s, he compiled a record of 159-76-1 at the NCAA Division III school where he began his college coaching career. He was named the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Coach of the Year in both 1990 and 1993 after leading St. Mary’s to MIAC championships in both years. His 1990 pitching staff led Division III schools with a 2.34 earned run average. Between the years of 1991 and 1992, his teams went on a 26-game winning streak.
His 1993 team at St. Mary’s came just short of making the Division III World Series, as it was runners-up in the Division III Midwest Regional. That team was ranked as high as No. 10 in the country. In his seven years as head coach, St. Mary’s had six players drafted by the Major Leagues.
Servais’ first collegiate head coaching position came at Viterbo College in La Crosse, Wis. in 1988 when he coached the NAIA Division II V-Hawks in the first year of baseball at the school. He made his only year there one to remember as he led the V-Hawks to a 23-6 overall record and an 11-1 conference mark. Making that record even more impressive for a first-year team is that of the 17 players on the team, 14 were freshmen. One of those freshmen he coached was Damian Miller, who went on to the Major Leagues and was a member of the world champion Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.
Servais’ first college coaching job came at St. Mary’s in 1984 as an assistant. He stayed there for three seasons, after which he left to start the baseball program at Viterbo.
He got his start in coaching at Rib Lake High School in Rib Lake, Wis. He coached for two years at Rib Lake and rang up a two-year record of 24-11 from 1982-1983. He led Rib Lake to the District Finals in both of his years.
Servais graduated from Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1981 with a degree in Physical Education. He was a three-time all-conference pick and was also the team’s co-captain and Most Valuable Player his senior year. He holds a master’s degree in Physical Education from Wisconsin-La Crosse, which he earned in 1986 while coaching at St. Mary’s.
He resides in Omaha with his wife Anne, their daughter Angela (25), and sons Joe (23) and Michael (18). Angela graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, in 2006. Joe transferred to Creighton from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan and played for the Bluejays last season, finishing with a .298 average in 54 games, all starts. Ed is the uncle of former Creighton All-American and Major League catcher Scott Servais.