ESPN.com Feature on Coach Grewe
Michigan State made a decision on July 13, 2005, to rejuvenate its baseball program and hired David Grewe to lead the way, making him the program's 15th head baseball coach. With the announcement came a new found energy that quickly spread throughout every inch of the program. Hired at the age of 29, Grewe, one of the youngest head coaches in the nation, brings a passion and desire to build the MSU program to great heights.
In just two short years, Grewe has made his mark on the Spartan program by implementing a winning attitude amongst his players and the proud alumni of MSU. Since his arrival, Grewe's passion and energy has been shown in the effort to reunite the former Spartan greats with the current players in the program.
Grewe possesses the unique qualities of every successful coach at the college level. He has a burning desire to succeed and run a program the right way. The work ethic and determination that exists on a daily basis has already laid the foundation for the program's bright future, as demonstrated by bringing in the Big Ten's top recruting class this year, according to Baseball America.
The MSU baseball program is built on character, discipline, hard work, energy, the desire to win, and the passion for doing things the right way.
"I'm very humbled and excited to be in East Lansing and to be the baseball coach at Michigan State," states Grewe. "MSU is a first-class university with top-notch athletic programs. It is my goal to play the game of baseball the right way at MSU."
Grewe enters his third year at the helm of the Spartan baseball program with the table set for a breakout season. All nine starting position players - a group that hit a collective .310 - return from a team that hit .304 and ranked fourth in the Big Ten in fielding percentage and on-base percentage. Grewe's squad should not be strangers to offensive performance, as the Spartans return nearly 90 percent of their production at the plate from 2007.
In addition to what the Spartans return for 2008, Grewe and his staff have assembled a banner recruiting class, one that was ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten by Baseball America.
In MSU's second season under Grewe, the Spartans defeated some elite programs and raced out to a 6-3 start in the Big Ten, giving the team a shot at the postseason until the season's final day. Grewe also led Michigan State to victories over nationally strong programs Oklahoma, South Florida, and the Spartans won three of four against Ohio State.
Over the course of the season, the Spartans allowed the least amount of hits in the Big Ten while finishing second in least earned runs allowed and third in runs allowed. MSU also finished fourth in the Big Ten in team on-base percentage and third in runners picked off. Even more impressive was Grewe's impact off the field, as nine members of the team earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2007. In addition, two Spartans were selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, the second year in a row Michigan State had two players drafted under Grewe.
The 2006 season was Grewe's first season in East Lansing, and the Spartans displayed his aggressive style on the field, ranking among the Big Ten leaders in several offensive categories. MSU led the Big Ten and ranked fourth in the nation with 33 triples, which was the second-highest total in program history. The Spartans were second in the conference and ranked among the top 35 teams nationally in stolen bases (98) and batting (.315), and also ranked second in the league in slugging (.451) and on-base percentage (.388).
"My plan and vision for MSU baseball remains the same, and I am excited where this programs stands in the ultimate rebuilding process. We will continue to develop lives and baseball players. We will continue to create memories, and we will strive to win on a national level."
Head Coach David Grewe on MSU Baseball
The Spartans battled all season with the Big Ten's elite and narrowly missed the Big Ten Tournament on the last day of the regular season. In his first season, the Spartans improved their overall winning percentage and Big Ten ranking. Additionally, twelve members of the team earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2006, most in program history. In addition, two Spartans were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Grewe's reputation as a relentless recruiter followed him to Michigan State, and the Spartan program has reaped immediate benefits upon his arrival. He landed a stellar class in his first year for the Green and White, including the signing of Chris Roberts, who was ranked among the top 140 high school players in the nation by Baseball America.
With a major emphasis on building a program fast with players of character, Grewe and his staff signed 11 junior college players and three freshmen for their first recruiting class. The staff continued their recruiting momentum with seven players signing National Letters of Intent with MSU in the fall of 2006.
Grewe arrived in East Lansing following three years at Notre Dame (2003-05) where he served as the recruiting coordinator and the hitting and catching instructor under Paul Mainieri. During his tenure, the Irish compiled a combined record of 134-54-1 (.712), including three-straight BIG EAST Tournament championships and three-consecutive NCAA Regional appearances. Over his three-year period with Notre Dame, Grewe helped the squad to the fourth-most wins in all of NCAA Division I.
In 2003, the Irish traveled to Cal State Fullerton to compete in the Regionals where they beat Arizona and San Diego before falling to Fullerton in the Regional final game. Fullerton went on to play in the College World Series.
In 2004, Notre Dame hosted the Regionals in South Bend as the No. 5 ranked team in the nation, and eventually lost in the Regional final to Arizona, who advanced to the College World Series.
In 2005, the Irish traveled to the University of Florida to participate in the Gainesville Regional. After upsetting Stetson and North Carolina, Notre Dame lost in the Regional final to Florida, who went on to claim national runner-up in the College World Series.
At Notre Dame, Grewe established himself as one of the nation's top recruiters, while also producing success stories at the catcher position and serving as the architect of a potent offensive attack. He helped attract two top-10 recruiting classes to South Bend, Ind., including the 2004 Class (ranked No. 6 by Baseball America) and the 2006 Class (ranked No. 7 by Team One Baseball), and all three of his recruiting classes were nationally ranked. The 2004 recruiting class consisted of four players that were drafted out of high school and all four players decided to attend Notre Dame. In addition, the 2005 class yielded BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Brett Lilley.
"I'm a firm believer that recruiting is the lifeblood of a program, and I can promise all of those who have a vested interest that I'm going to put forth the efforts necessary to bring in top players in the Midwest that will have the same desire and passion for winning that I do," Grewe attests. "Those players are going to work hard, they're going to be disciplined and they're going to show up each and every day wanting to achieve greatness."
Not only did Grewe gain the reputation as a top recruiter, but he made a huge impact at Notre Dame as an instructor. His knowledge of the game and his advanced hitting and catching fundamentals as an instructor paid dividends for the Irish players. In 2005, the Irish rebounded from a 14-14 start to finish 38-24-1, going 24-10-1 during the second half of the season. One of Grewe's pupils, outfielder Craig Cooper won his second-straight BIG EAST batting title with a .403 average, and freshman Brett Lilley led the team in hitting with his .355 average.
While on the Notre Dame coaching staff, Grewe also supervised the transformation of Javi Sanchez, from starting shortstop (2002) to all-star catcher. With no catching experience prior to 2003, Sanchez emerged as a polished catcher and clutch hitter, earning 2003 BIG EAST Tournament MVP honors and a spot on the NCAA Fullerton Regional All-Tournament team. His steady development and refined defensive skills prompted the Minnesota Twins to select Sanchez in the 14th round of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft.
Sanchez was just one of several players linked to Grewe's effective style of instruction. Grewe helped All-America third baseman Matt Macri shape his game his junior year, becoming one of only three players in Notre Dame history to reach 80 hits and 40 walks in the same season. Grewe challenged his hitters to display power and discipline.
The team responded, tallying a +23 margin of walks (275) plus hit-by-pitch (106, 5th in NCAA history) minus strikeouts (358).
In 2004, Notre Dame won a school-record 51 games (51-12 overall) en route to the BIG EAST regular-season (20-6) and tournament titles. The Irish put together two double-digit winning streaks in 2004 (11 and 12 games, respectively). Notre Dame led the BIG EAST and ranked No. 25 in the NCAA in scoring, averaging 7.8 runs per game. The team also led the league in home runs (69) while finishing third in batting average (.309). In BIG EAST play, the Irish lineup produced the triple-crown winners: Cooper in batting average (.370), third baseman Matt Macri in home runs (7) and designated hitter Matt Bransfield in runs batted in (33).
Following the 2004 season, five Irish players were drafted on day one of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
In 2003, the Irish produced a 45-18 worksheet that featured a 17-game winning streak. At the end of Grewe's first season with the Irish, his hitter's started to flourish under his guidance and finished on a high note, batting an all-time best .361 as a team in the BIG EAST Tournament followed by 17 hits in the NCAA-opening win over Arizona.
Grewe coached 13 players at Notre Dame that were drafted or played professional baseball. He also recruited five players that were drafted out of high school and continued their playing career at Notre Dame.
Grewe previously spent two years as an assistant coach at Central Michigan (2001-02), where he coached the infielders and catchers and served as hitting instructor under Judd Folske. In addition to his day-to-day duties, he managed CMU's winter baseball camps and clinics, which saw a remarkable 35 percent increase in only one year. Grewe coached five CMU players who went on to professional baseball.
In 2001, the Chippewas set single-season records for runs scored (470) and RBI (422). The 626 hits (second), 988 total bases (second) and 69 home runs (third) all ranked among the top single-season totals in CMU history. His infielders also helped turn a school-record 62 double plays.
During his stint at Central Michigan, Grewe also worked for the American Baseball Coaches Association, first as an intern and then as an administrative assistant under executive director Dave Keilitz.
He spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Chicago (1999-2000) under Brian Baldea, serving as hitting instructor, infield coach and recruiting coordinator. In 2000, the Maroons ranked No. 19 in NCAA Division III in batting average (.347) while averaging 8.47 runs per game. In addition, Chicago established six single-season records: batting average, hits (353), slugging percentage (.503), RBI, total bases and walks.
At the age of 21 and still in college, Grewe was an assistant baseball coach with the Motor City Pride summer team that posted a 29-7 record in 1996 and had 94 percent of its players advance to play at the collegiate level.
He also has gained experience as an instructor at 22 different baseball camps throughout the country and as a personal hitting instructor for various youth levels.
Grewe earned three letters at Dayton (1996-98) while starting games at catcher, first base and third base. He started at third base for the 1996 team that set the Dayton record for wins, including an upset victory over eventual national champion LSU. In 1998, Grewe batted .324 while ranking among the team leaders in five of 11 offensive categories, helping the Flyers record the baseball program's first winning season since 1979.
He began his collegiate career at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.
The Royal Oak, Mich., native graduated from Dayton in 1998 as a sports management major, with a double minor in marketing and public relations. While coaching at Central Michigan, he served as a graduate teaching assistant while studying towards a master's degree in athletic administration.
Grewe married the former Annie Brammer, a native of South Bend, Ind., in the fall of 2006. The Grewe family welcomed Charlie David Grewe into the world on Nov. 28, 2007.
American Baseball Coaches Association Executive Director Dave Keilitz:
"David Grewe is a great, great hire for MSU. David is truly one of the young, rising superstars in coaching. There's no doubt in my mind that he'll come in and do a tremendous job in leading the Spartan baseball program. David is a tremendous recruiter that also knows the game. He's mature beyond his years, and he'll be an outstanding representative for the entire university community."
Former Spartan All-American and MLB All-Star Kirk Gibson:
"I'm excited about the hiring of David Grewe. He's an energetic, young coach. With upgrading the facilities at Old College Field - and Kobs Field in particular - and the hiring of a new head coach, it marks a new beginning for Spartan baseball. I'd like to see the Spartan baseball program become a consistent winner, finishing in the upper echelon of the Big Ten."
Former Spartan All-American Mark Mulder (St. Louis Cardinals, pitcher):
"When the Michigan State baseball job opened, Oakland A's scout Rich Sparks called and told me that he knew a guy that would be a perfect fit for the position. Of course, Rich identified and endorsed the candidacy of David Grewe. I've heard a lot of good stuff about David, and I'm confident that he'll get the Spartan baseball program headed in the right direction. David strikes me as a coach who's going to roll up his sleeves and get after it, and that's exactly what MSU needs."
Head Coach David Grewe on MSU baseball:
"Michigan State, to me, has been a model program in the Midwest in terms of its athletics. I've been lured by the athletics at Michigan State. I also believe the Big Ten Conference is one of the nation's elite conferences and has been a pioneer for excellence.
"Player development is very important, and it's going to be an integral part of the development of our program here. One of the key components of player development is to have the facilities in place and to have the plans for facility upgrades to be able to work year-round within the guidelines of the NCAA rules to reach the maximum potential of your players. I'm very confident and strongly believe that we're going to have the necessary tools to develop our players and consistently compete on a year-to-year basis.
"Just as the Michigan State Fight Song states: On the banks of the Red Cedar, there's a school that's known to all. Its specialty is winning, and those Spartans play good ball. That's what I want to accomplish here at Michigan State."