Head coach Steve Farley has become synonymous with the Butler baseball program, as the long-time Bulldog mentor enters his 18th season in Indianapolis in 2009. After coaching in his 1,000th career collegiate game last year, the baseball veteran begins his 21st season as a head coach with 480 victories to his credit, including a school-record 427 while at Butler.
He has continued to lead the Bulldogs to consistent success in the Horizon League during his tenure, guiding the team to a pair of NCAA Tournament bids and five appearances in the league championship game since 1998. Teams under his direction have broken Butler's school record for victories three times, while eight of the program's highest single-season win totals have come under his tutelage.
A four-time Horizon League Coach of the Year, Farley has had 62 players earn all-conference honors, and 25 of his former players have signed professional baseball contracts, including current Minnesota Twins hurler Pat Neshek.
Farley guided the Bulldogs to the brink of their third NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006, scoring a pair of wins over regular-season champion UIC in the Horizon League Tournament to advance to the championship game before falling short to host Wright State.
Butler's baseball program has flourished under Farley in the last decade, as the Bulldogs captured conference regular season championships in 1996, 1998 and 1999 and league tournament titles in 1998 and 2000. In 1998, the Bulldogs visited Tulsa, Oklahoma, to compete in the NCAA Play-In series against Oral Roberts, and in 2000 Butler captured the Horizon League's automatic bid to the NCAA National Baseball Championship. In 2002 and 2003, Farley guided the Bulldogs to a school-record 34 victories, Butler's third and fourth 30-win seasons in a six-year span.
Farley's success hasn't been limited to wins and losses. Thanks to his efforts in collecting donations from alumni and other benefactors, Bulldog Park has gone from an average playing facility to a top-notch baseball complex - one that hosted the Indiana North-South high school all-star series in 2001. Farley has also annually scheduled games in Victory Field, home of the AAA Indianapolis Indians. The 2003 squad also got a taste of international competition, as the Bulldogs traveled outside of the US for the first time ever as a part of a six-game tour of Australia.
Farley has made Butler summer and winter baseball camps an annual success, with many Indianapolis-area little league and high school players attending his camps each year. Program building wasn't something new for Farley. After serving as a graduate assistant coach under the highly regarded Jerry Kindall at Arizona in 1983, he began a full-time coaching career as an assistant at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. As the team's pitching coach, he helped lower Army's team earned run average to a school-record 3.99 in just two seasons.
Farley moved to Davis & Elkins College in 1988, inheriting a team that had finished last in the conference the previous two seasons. In 1990, he was named Co-Coach of the Year in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference after leading Davis & Elkins to its first 20-win season in over a decade. In 1991, he guided the Senators to a division championship.
A high school all-state pitcher at River Falls, Wis., Farley earned a baseball scholarship to the University of Minnesota, where he became a starting pitcher and three-year letterman. He helped lead the Golden Gophers to the Big Ten finals and a berth in the NCAA tournament in 1981. Farley, recipient of the Williams Scholar-Student Athlete Award, earned his Bachelor's Degree from Minnesota in 1981, and a Master's Degree from the University of Arizona in 1983.
In addition to his coaching duties, Farley has served as a director or instructor at several baseball camps, including the NCAA Youth Education through Sports (YES) clinics at the College World Series. He has also had several articles on baseball strategy and technique published in athletic journals. In January of 2006, he joined several other baseball coaches from the United States on a trip to Regensburg, Germany, to give instruction to European amateur coaches. The clinics were sponsored by Major League Baseball's Envoy Program.
Farley and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters, Hannah (14) and Sarah (11).