"Coach Ray" Shovlain's Bees posted the 18th 20-win season of his 31-year career this past winter, while also collecting their 11th Midwest Collegiate Conference title since the league was formed in 1988. Shovlain will enter next season 12 victories shy of joining a milestone list of men's college basketball coaches with 600 or more career victories. That group numbered just 81 at the start of the 2013-14 season.
Under Shovlain, the Bees have advanced to 10 NAIA National Tournaments and four Sweet 16s, reaching the 2004 Final Four. The former Bees point guard still holds the school record for career, season and single-game assists, and was inducted into the SAU Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Quad Cities Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
"We try to challenge every athlete to be involved in three community service projects through the year and to attend two personal growth seminars. Those are experiences these students may not otherwise have. There's book knowledge and then there is actual experience. That's what we have done a pretty effective job of, through the years." - Ray Shovlain
The longest tenured coach in St. Ambrose athletic history, Jeff Griebel is his 31st year. He is a member of the St. Ambrose Athletic Hall of Fame and the NAIA Golf Coaches Hall of Fame.
His record includes nearly 200 tournament victories; 15 Midwest Collegiate Conference titles since 1992; and 23 national tournament appearances, including a third-place finish in 2004 and a fourth in 2006. He is a 19-time NAIA Midwest Region Coach of the Year and a 14-time MCC Coach of the Year. He has coached eight first-team NAIA All-American golfers.
"My hope has always been to stay positive with my players and to motivate them to be supportive of others in our program and aware of the importance of great team chemistry. Many of my former players now give back to the program financially and I have also had the opportunity to coach children of some of my former players, which is very gratifying." - Jeff Griebel
Three-time conference Coach of the Year Jim Callahan is in his 19th season at the St. Ambrose baseball helm. His teams have won more than 400 games, nine league titles, three regional crowns and posted second- and third-place finishes at the NAIA World Series.
When his 1996 debut Bees team went 42-17 and advanced to the title game, Callahan became the youngest coach in NAIA history to play for the title. Callahan has coached 15 All-Americans, 24 All-Region performers and 28 NAIA Scholar-Athletes. He is a three-time conference and region Coach of the Year.
"I think baseball is the greatest outdoor classroom. The game itself humbles you - the best players fail 60 percent of the time when they are up to bat. To be successful in baseball and life, you have to be able to overcome failure and disappointment. We have a system that helps players learn to set goals and then set up daily activities to help achieve those goals." -Jim Callahan
Bruce Billingsley, women's volleyball
The winningest coach in St. Ambrose volleyball history, Bruce Billingsley also ranks among the winningest collegiate volleyball coaches anywhere, with 618 victories over 23 years. All but six of those 23 seasons were at St. Ambrose, where he originally coached both the men's and women's teams.
At the Queen Bees helm, he is 386-266 and has won nine conference titles and advanced to the nationals three times. He is a six-time MCC coach of the year and has coached eight All-Americans and six conference Players of the Year. His program also has produced 23 NAIA Scholar Athletes.
"We guide them to learn how to solve problems on their own. They should leave with a good sense of who they are and what they are capable of, both on and off the court. All of our players are very supportive of one another and this family atmosphere pushes them to be better athletes and better students." - Bruce Billingsley
Since 2006, Zeimet's cross country teams have qualified five times for the national meet and, since 2004, SAU squads have won nine conference championships. In his 13th year of coaching, Zeimet is a nine-time MCC Coach of the Year.
As an SAU cross country runner, Zeimet qualified twice for the nationals and he was inducted into the St. Ambrose Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
"I try to emphasize a quote from Charles Swindoll: ‘Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.' With that, make the most of the opportunities presented to you and dwell on the positives." - Dan Zeimet
Blomgren has coached women's tennis at SAU for eight years. He was men's coach for 15 years before stepping down a year ago. He also remains active in the sport, having won four out of five recent Quad States Open championships despite being on the cusp of turning 50,
Blomgren also is an adjunct instructor in the SAU Philosophy Department. A recent highlight for the SAU tennis teams was a player-driven opportunity to practice with James Valentine, guitarist for the rock group Maroon 5.
"My players know what I expect from them, but I am not using tennis as a means to mold them. I expect them to do well in class and be responsible. Possibly use tennis as a means to enhance their ability to do well in school." - Rich Blomgren
Jon Mannall has built a regional power in his 11 seasons at the head of the women's program. His teams have won six of the past seven MCC conference titles and have advanced to the nationals three times, including this past fall. He is a four-time women's Coach of the Year and has a record of 127-84-13. He has coached four MCC Players of the Year and 30 all-league first-team players.
He is in his fifth season as men's coach and last year's men's crew came within a game of winning the conference tournament and claiming a berth in the national tournament. A native of London, England, Mannall has increased SAU's international athletic representation, fielding a men's roster this year that includes 18 players from outside the US.
"Believing in St. Ambrose and the experience that the student-athletes receive makes it a pleasure to recruit new players into my programs. I believe that the more one puts into their time here, the more one will get out of it. This mentality holds true on and off the field. I want players to feel an ownership in their program, in their experience and ultimately, in their destiny through their St. Ambrose career." - Jon Mannall
Coaching both the men's and women's teams through both the indoor and outdoor seasons, while also assisting cross country coach Dan Zeimet, Tomlin keeps a fast-paced schedule.
In his seven years, Tomlin had led teams to nine MCC championships and he is a nine-time conference Coach of the Year. He has coached 11 NAIA All-Americans and his 2013 men's indoor squad was the first in SAU history to win an NAIA Champions of Character Team award.
"The only way we as a team, or recruits as individuals, will be successful, is if St. Ambrose is the right school for them academically. When SAU is the right fit academically, then we start talking about where they would fit in athletically. If it is the other way around, your priorities are in the wrong place." - Dan Tomlin
Mike Magistrelli's Fighting Bees football squads have advanced to the NAIA playoffs in five of his seven seasons. He has a career record of 50-25 and has won three Mid-States Football Association Midwest League championships.
Magistrelli is a two-time Midwest League Coach of the Year and was Assistant Coach of the Year in 2006 under Todd Sturdy. He has coached 23 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and nine All-American players
"There is a certain amount of success that is measured by wins and losses and that's part of the equation, but I also think a big part of success is in the business of developing young men and preparing them for graduation and life after football." -Mike Magistrelli
Felicia Miles has taken the St. Ambrose cheerleading program from a club activity with eight members in 2007 to a competitive varsity sport with a 2013-2014 roster of 61 men and women,. That is believed to be the largest squad in the history of NAIA cheerleading.
In 2011, the SAU cheer squad finished fourth in the NAIA Small Co-ed Division at the NCA College Nationals in Daytona Beach. Including an upcoming trip to Daytona, the SAU cheerleaders have earned three straight regional bids to compete at the national meet.
"From the time they come in, I explain that this is the first job of their careers. They have to work together as teammates, learning to resolve conflicts and issues as adults. They don't realize it as freshmen, but their teammates will be the ones they choose to be in their weddings, to be godparents to their children, to be there when times are bad and to celebrate when times are awesome." - Felicia Miles
Bill Gleeson is coach of two national runners-up and four conference champions in seven years as head coach. A four-year starter and an all-conference selection as a senior, Gleeson ranks fourth in kills in the SAU record book.
His nationally ranked 2013-2014 Bees are pursuing their sixth national tournament appearance in the past seven years and he could collect his 200th victory before the year is over. He was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 2011, when his Bees went 30-6 and finished second in the national tournament. They were 33-3 and second again in 2012. He has coached three NAIA All-Americans and 22 all-league performers.
"I don't want my players leaving with any doubt that SAU was the right choice. I feel that most, if not all, of my players walk away with a great education and well prepared for the real world. On top of that, they were able to play volleyball at a high level and have a lot of success on the court. Lastly, they make lifelong friends." - Bill Gleeson.
Donna Lawrence has coached the SAU women's bowling team since the program's inception in 2009-2010. She also coached the men's team until a year ago. She is a member of the Davenport-Bettendorf Women's Bowling Association Hall of Fame and won a regional title on the Ladies Professional Bowlers' Tour in 1997.
Under Lawrence's direction, the SAU women's bowling team earned a top 12 finish in the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championship in 2012. She was the MCC Coach of the Year in 2011.
"With bowling as big as it is in high school, St. Ambrose provides an opportunity for these athletes to continue their careers. St. Ambrose athletics are competitive across the board. I want the bowling team to meet and exceed those expectations." - Donna Lawrence
Danielle (Stanger) Langeneckert came to the St. Ambrose dance program with an extensive background in competitive dance, including as president and co-founder of the nationally ranked Florida State University Seminole Dance Force Competition team while an undergraduate. She also served as head instructor for the Universal Dance Associations Midwest high school dance camps.
She is in her fourth year as head coach of the SAU team, and previously served as an assistant coach from 2004-2006. Her 2012 team won the first team national title in SAU history, claiming the NAIA Large Dance division at the NDA Collegiate Dance Championships. SAU dance teams have won four straight regional titles and seven state titles. Langeneckert has coached five All-American dancers.
"At the collegiate level, it is very rare to find a school that recognizes dance as a sport. At St. Ambrose, we have a program that has the support of the Athletic Department. This is a huge selling feature for many dancers coming out of high school and I like to impress upon our recruits how great an opportunity we have here." - Danelle Langeneckert
The 2013-2014 Queen Bees advanced to the NAIA Nationals for the second time in Krista Van Hauen's four-year tenure. They won their final 18 regular-season games and finished the MCC season unbeaten. The Queen Bees also won the conference tournament for the second time under Van Hauen, who won her second Coach of the Year honor.
As impressively, her first three teams all ranked among the top 14 teams in NAIA in grade point average, including a fifth-place finish in 2012-2013. She has coached a pair of conference Players of the Year and nine first-team all-MCC selections. A former player at Waldorf College, Van Hauen was an assistant coach at the University of Northern Colorado, Bradley University and Cornell College before being hired to helm the tradition-rich Queen Bees program.
"When I looked at St. Ambrose, I felt a family-type atmosphere. I went to a smaller school and I liked when professors knew me in class. I wasn't a number and I feel St. Ambrose has what I experienced. St. Ambrose is small but it still has that college feel because everyone stays on campus. If you ask any of my kids, they feel that same way." -Krista Van Hauen
In his third year on the job, Ron Ferrill last year led the Queen Bees to a 40-15 season and their first MCC championship in a dozen years. He was named MCC Coach of the Year.
He previously coached at Robert Morris University-Springfield, where his team won the USCAA national championship. He brought a 140-96 career record into his fourth SAU season.
"Nearly every lesson we teach in softball, outside of the fundamentals of the game, we try to extend meaning to a real life situation. Anything from responsibility and work ethic, to leadership and teamwork, to time management and integrity—and much more." -Ron Ferrill
In his second year as head women's golf coach, Nick Goblirsch is seeking to build on a women's program that has won nine league titles since 2002 and qualified for the NAIA National Championships 14 times.
A former collegiate golfer at MCC foe Mt. Mercy College, Goblirsch is a 12-year golf professional who previously worked as an assistant at three US country clubs and as head professional of Pinnacle Country Club in Milan, Ill.
"The golfers will draw on their competitive experiences on the course in their future professions. I hope they take away friends and mentors who will help them throughout their adult lives." - Nick Goblirsch
Brad Keel is building a lacrosse program from scratch at St. Ambrose and the Bees cracked the victory column in their second official varsity match in February.
His coaching experience includes a year at a Missouri high school as well as with the Missouri Select traveling team. He was a three-year starter at Missouri Baptist College, a member of the same Great Rivers Lacrosse Conference in which the Bees compete.
"The main thing I sell to recruits is the close-knit community of St. Ambrose. I like to point out the attention students receive from faculty that makes a positive difference in the quality of their education. I hope they take away great memories from experiences that help in the real world." - Brad Keel
Eric Littig is in his first season as SAU men's head bowling coach, but has been a coach and bowling instructor in and around the Quad-Cities for 24 years. He has been inducted into three area bowling Halls of Fame and was the Greater Davenport Bowling Coach of the Year in 2009.
The SAU men's bowling team is the defending conference champion and has qualified for successive Intercollegiate Team Championships.
"The bowling cornerstones have already been laid here at St Ambrose. I believe I can help our program succeed, and climb into the upper ranks as a major force in collegiate competition. I am hoping to educate our bowlers, expand their knowledge about the game, and inspire each bowler to purse and achieve their dreams." - Eric Littig
Austin Stewart assumed the men's tennis head coaching position this spring after serving as head coach of the Davenport Assumption High School boys program for three years. He coached the Knights to a state dual meet title and Mississippi Athletic Conference title in 2012.
He played collegiate tennis at the University of Dubuque, where he ranks third in all-time victories.
"Tennis has always been a great passion of mine. I look forward to the challenges of coaching at the next level, and moving the St. Ambrose tennis program in the right direction." - Austin Stewart
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