SEWARD, Neb. – A coach and educator with nearly 25 years of combined experience at the high school and collegiate levels, Shawn Semler will take over the reins of the Concordia softball program, as announced on Friday (June 29). The newest Bulldog head coach will move a few miles west after most recently serving as a special education teacher and head softball coach at Waverly High School.
Semler assumes the role previously held by Todd LaVelle, who resigned his position as head coach after five years leading the Bulldogs.
Wrote Semler in a statement, “I would like to thank Reverend Dr. Brian Friedrich, Mr. Devin Smith, Mrs. Angela Muller and all the interview committee members for this great opportunity to join the Concordia University family. I am excited to meet and get to know my players and prepare all fall for the spring season. The GPAC is a great conference. The league’s competitiveness in all sports including softball is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to be at Concordia. Building a program on faith, education and working as a team to win conference championships will be our priority.”
Said Director of Athletics Devin Smith, “I am so pleased to announce Shawn Semler as our new head softball coach here at Concordia University. He has a proven track record of competitive success, possesses an immediate recruiting presence in the Great Plains region and is extremely energetic and enthusiastic about this new opportunity to coach at the collegiate level. We found out quickly through the vetting process that Coach Semler is a type of leader who can inspire excellence in the classroom, on the field and in the community. We are excited to see coach work with our talented group of Bulldog softball players.”
While Semler’s roots are in Nebraska as a Bellevue native, his most recent college coaching appearance came at Southwest Minnesota State University, an NCAA Division II school located in Marshall, Minn. Over eight seasons leading the Mustangs, Semler guided the program to five Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC) titles and departed as the winningest coach in school history (241-160). His tenure also saw him win four NSIC coach of the year awards and take the team to four NCAA tournaments.
Additionally, Semler proved successful in a six-year stint (1997-2003) as the head coach at College of Saint Mary. During his run in Omaha, Semler produced three Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) regular-season titles and two league tournament championships while being named the conference’s coach of the year three times. The Flames reached the MCAC tournament championship game each season under Semler's leadership.
In 10 years of high school coaching, Semler has positively impacted the softball programs at Bellevue East, Marian, Bennington and Waverly. In those experiences, Semler turned around a fledgling Bellevue East program, made two state tournament appearances at Marian, defeated the eventual state champion in each of three campaigns at Bennington and then led Waverly to an Eastern Midlands Conference tournament championship (first in school history) and a final state ranking of seventh.
Semler earned his bachelor of science from Peru State College and his master of science from Lesley University. His high school teaching résumé includes service in special education and computers and physical education. While simultaneously coaching at Southwest Minnesota State, Semler worked as a professor in the business department.
Shawn and his wife Kim have a son Toby Semler, a step daughter Bradi Betancur and a step son Braxton Betancur.