SEGUIN, Texas -- In exclusive voting by the senior woman administrators of the conference, Riley Schaefer of Texas Lutheran University has been selected the 2019 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Man of the Year.
Schaefer, a 2019 TLU graduate with a master's degree and a bachelor's degree in accountancy, is the first Bulldog to be named SCAC Man of the Year.
The SCAC Man of the Year was established prior to the 2012-13 athletics season.
The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.
Schaefer finished his degrees at TLU with an overall grade point average of 3.98. He completed his four years of baseball eligibility in 2018, but he was not eligible for SCAC Man of the Year until he finished his undergraduate and master's degrees (completed concurrently) this May.
Schaefer was the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship Elite 90 award winner in 2018. He received the Elite 90 award as the top student-athlete at the national championship finals, also known as the NCAA DIII World Series, in Appleton, Wis.
The Bulldogs' starting center fielder in 2018, Schaefer led TLU to its first-ever NCAA DIII World Series appearance. The Bulldogs finished as the national runner-up and won the Spokane (Wash.) Regional Championship and the SCAC Championship.
"Being a part of not only the community here at TLU but the SCAC community as an athlete has allowed me to experience some amazing opportunities that I wouldn't have been afforded otherwise," said Schaefer. "From the weekend community service outings with my teammates to traveling all the way to Appleton, Wis. for the national championship, I have made memories that will last me a lifetime."
For the 2017-18 academic year and the 2018 baseball season, Schaefer was the SCAC Player of the Year, the D3baseball.com West Region Player of the Year, the TLU Male Student-Athlete of the Year, and the TLU Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Schaefer was twice named a Google Cloud Academic All-American. He was a Third Team selection in 2017 and a First Team choice in 2018. He is one of only 11 Bulldogs in TLU Athletics history to claim at least two Academic All-America awards.
To make it to the Google Cloud Academic All-America ballot, Schaefer twice was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District First Team. He made those teams in 2017 and 2018.
Schaefer was a four-time member of the SCAC Academic Honor Roll.
"Riley Schaefer is the epitome of a Division III baseball player," said Greg Burnett, TLU's head baseball coach. "His tremendous work ethic led to the successes he experienced both on and off the field."
The single-season record-holder for hits in SCAC and TLU baseball history, Schaefer collected 95 hits in the 2018 season. Those 95 hits were the most by any player in NCAA Division III that year.
Schaefer hit .413 for the year. He added 63 runs, 16 doubles, three triples and eight home runs. He drove in 49, walked 20 times, and stole 21 bases. Schaefer's career hit total of 237 placed him third on the all-time TLU list. He trailed only Ryan Nokelby's 270 and Johnny Briseno's 238.
In the final 2018 statistical rankings for NCAA DIII baseball, Schaefer finished second in the country in total bases (141) and also ranked sixth in runs scored (63).
Schaefer was a First Team All-American as selected by D3baseball.com, and he was a Second Team All-American as selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings.
Schaefer was a two-time selection to the All-SCAC Baseball Team.
As an active member of the TLU and Seguin communities, Schaefer volunteered during TLU's annual service days, and he volunteered with Seguin's Eden Cross Apartments, an affordable rental housing community for seniors age 62 and older.
With his teammates, Schaefer also gave of his time as a reading day volunteer at a local elementary school.
"This community has been a strong foundation, allowing me to see who I can become when given the right opportunities," said Schaefer. "And I can promise I will carry all I have been given into my next challenge."
Schaefer was a member of the TLU Baseball Leadership Council, the TLU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the TLU Black & Gold President's Council, and the Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society.
Schaefer was one of four outstanding nominees considered by the SCAC Man of the Year Committee. The other candidates were:
- Joseph Khalaf, soccer, Austin College
- Henry Baldwin, track & field, Colorado College
- Blair Walker, track & field, Trinity University
- To read about past winners of the SCAC Man-of-the-Year award, click here.
Year-by-year SCAC Man of the Year Honorees:
2019 - Riley Schaefer, baseball, Texas Lutheran University
2018 - Keenan Gumbs, basketball, Schreiner University
2017 - Soren Frykholm, soccer, Colorado College
2016 - Madison Ross, football, Austin College
2015 – Aaron Skinner, tennis, Trinity University
2014 – Kaleb Roush, swimming, Colorado College
2013 – Nick Lammers, soccer, Colorado College