Ed Servais enters his 11th season leading the Creighton baseball program in 2014.
He is the winningest coach in program history, surpassing Jim Hendry (289) in 2011, when he led his team to a 45-16 overall record, Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Servais was named the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Coach of the Year following the 2011 season, the fourth time he has earned the award at Creighton. He led the Bluejays back to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 as Creighton posted a perfect 4-0 record in the MVC Tournament to advance in the UCLA Regional.
Servais holds a .626 winning percentage at the helm of the Bluejays, the second highest in school history. He has taken Creighton to four NCAA Tournaments (2005, 2007, 2011 & 2012). In 10 seasons under Servais’ leadership, the Bluejays have averaged just under 36 wins per season.
During the summer of 2013, Servais served as one of three assistants for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. Servais was primarily responsible for team defense and was the first base coach. Servais helped Team USA post a 7-3 record against Japan and Cuba, including a five-game sweep of the Cuban National Team.
Servais’ tenure ranks among the best as a Creighton head coach. He has guided the team to a 357-213 record. His overall record of 539-296-1 places him 23rd in the nation in winning percentage amongst active coaches (.646).
Servais led Creighton to the MVC Tournament title three times (2007, 2011 & 2012) and regular-season crowns in 2005 and 2011.
His teams have finished among the nation’s best in fielding percentage and sacrifice bunts every season, including 2013, when the Bluejays finished ninth in fielding percentage (.979) and seventh in sacrifice bunts (76).
Since coming to Creighton, Servais’ teams have committed the fewest errors in the nation, while holding a .977 fielding percentage in the last 10 seasons, which also leads the country.
The Bluejays topped the 30 win mark for the eighth time under Servais in 2013, finishing with a 30-18 mark.
Despite finishing 2012 with a 28-30 overall record and a 6-14 mark in MVC play, Servais led his team to the NCAA Tournament with an inspired four-game sweep at the MVC Tournament. The Bluejays opened the MVC Tournament with an upset win over top-seed Indiana State, then went on to defeat Illinois State twice to advance to the title game against Southern Illinois. Creighton completed the four-game run by besting the Salukis, 8-6, to earn the MVC’s automatic berth.
At the UCLA Regional, the Bluejays dropped their opening game to the host Bruins (3-0), but Creighton rebounded to eliminate San Diego (8-2) and New Mexico (7-2), before succumbing to UCLA (13-5).
The 2011 team finished with a 45-16 overall record, finishing first in MVC play with a 15-6 mark. It marked the first time in school history a Bluejay baseball team has won the regular-season and tournament titles in the same year. The Bluejays finished the season ranked 25th in the nation, breaking into the top-25 for the first time since 2007.
Creighton moved into TD Ameritrade Park Omaha midway through the 2011 season, leaving behind the friendly confines of the CU Sports Complex where Servais had a .770 winning percentage. The new venue, however, gave Creighton the chance to host the MVC Tournament for the first time in Servais’ tenure.
Servais was named the 2011 MVC Coach of the Year, as he guided the Bluejays to series sweeps of Indiana State, Bradley and Missouri State. The three wins over the Bears to close the regular season gave Creighton the MVC regular-season crown outright.
The Bluejays then overcame fatigue and weather conditions in the MVC Tournament (including playing two games a day on back-to-back days after storms postponed play) to position themselves for a chance at the tournament title. Creighton defeated Missouri State for the fifth time in eight days, needing a wild-pitch in the 12th inning to get a 4-3 victory. The Bluejays then downed Wichita State 3-1 in the title game to earn the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, finishing 1-2 in the Corvallis, Ore., Regional.
Creighton earned a host of postseason accolades, led by Servais’ MVC Coach of the Year. Trever Adams became the first Bluejay outfielder since 2000 to be named First Team All-MVC. Adams was joined by Jimmy Swift and Jonas Dufek on the 2011 All-MVC First Team. Mike Gerber, Ty Blach and Kurt Spomer were recognized as second teamers. Dufek garnered All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball, while Adams was named All-America by Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America and the NCBWA. Gerber finished as a freshman All-American from Collegiate Baseball, while Blach became the seventh player in program history to be named a CoSIDA Academic All-American.
Creighton finished the 2010 season 27-25 and 9-12 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Creighton excelled on the defensive side, finishing second in the nation in fielding percentage at .980. The Bluejays closed the year second in Division I, committing just 41 errors in 52 games.
The end of the 2010 season saw four Bluejays honored by the MVC and one Bluejay pitcher earning national honors. Elliot Soto and Carson Vitale were drafted, with Soto being taken by the Chicago Cubs in the 15th round and Vitale by the Texas Rangers organization in the 38th round. The two became the 11th and 12th players drafted under Servais as Creighton’s head coach.
In 2009, the Bluejays (31-25) came within one win of their third NCAA Tournament in five years, as they reached the MVC Tournament 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 in 2009, the most since taking the reins in 2004. He also saw first baseman Darin Ruf come just 38 putouts shy of an NCAA record, finishing with 2,251 during his four years.
The Creighton skipper guided the 2008 team to another strong season, especially on the defensive side. The Bluejays, who were 37-21 overall, posted a .976 fielding percentage, good for third in the nation, after committing only 52 errors in 58 games. 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, Robbie Knight, Steve Winkelmann and Ruf 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 as the Bluejays advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. Creighton won 26 of its 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 regular-season series victory over in-state rival Nebraska under Servais’ guidance.
Individual accolades came in bunches with the successful 2007 season under Servais. 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, Masten and junior ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte were selected to All-America teams, while freshman hurler Casey Schmidt earned Freshman All-America honors.
The 2006 team posted a record of 31-21 overall and placed fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 13-11 mark. 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, a No. 28 ranking from Collegiate Baseball. Servais also led the Bluejays to a 5-3 regular-season victory against No. 3 Nebraska in front of more than 20,000 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.
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.
Servais has coached 46 players that received All-MVC honors. In addition, 22 players have been named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team during that span.
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 tenure 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 Aug. 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 as an assistant 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.
As part of his job as infield coach, Servais 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. 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, falling in the final of 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 major league teams.
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 season there one to remember as Servais 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 1980 with a degree in physical education. As a player, Servais was a three-time all-conference selection, 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.
Servais resides in Omaha with his wife Anne. The couple has three children: daughter Angela (29), and sons Joe (27) and Michael (22).
Angela graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, in 2006 and went on to complete her master’s degree at Drake. Recently Angela was married to Zach Gradnon. Joe transferred to Creighton from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., and played for the Bluejays in 2008, finishing with a .298 average in 54 games, all starts. Michael is a junior second-baseman at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb.
Ed is also the uncle of former Creighton All-American and major league catcher Scott Servais, who now is the Assistant GM of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.