Erik Grafton, the 20th head coach in program history, completed his second year at the helm of the University of Dallas baseball team. Grafton's squad excelled out of the gate in 2020 by winning seven-of-eight contests, which was highlighted by five straight victories. With a schedule becoming more difficult, UD stumbled back to .500 (8-8) before the spring season was haulted due to COVID-19. The 1-7 slide featured six games against a top-3 nationally ranked opponent or team that qualified multiple years in the NCAA Tournament.
Grafton's team had a couple players ranked within the top-five of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC). Joseph Vondrachek led the league in stolen bases with 12. Zachary Taylor was fifth in RBI with 18 (3rd highest total). Conrad Voss and Jamie Wallace had three wins to be tied first and Voss led the league with 29 strikeouts. Tyler Montemayor was tied for the most saves with three. He earned a spot on d3baseball.com team of the week for relief pitcher.
Off the diamond, Grafton has gotten his program involved with the community; leading to many service projects that incude: Special Olympics, Miracle League, Catholic Charities, Readers 2 Leaders, and Blue Christmas. This was the second annual Blue Christmas that Dallas did with the Irving Police and Fire Department, and Grafton started the initial contact in his first semester working at the institution in 2018.
Dallas made a six game improvement in 2019 and gathered the most wins since 2013. UD had the hottest start in a season since the 2012 playing year. Seven Crusaders were selected as all-conference award winners. Conrad Voss secured a spot on the first team list. Luke Boylson, Nathan Patton, and Jordan Stickler were all named to the second-team ballot, while Josh Abalos, Andrew Magness, and Jessup Scott all were selected as honorable mention recipients.
Grafton arrives after spending the previous six seasons as the assistant coach for the UT Tyler Patriots. Four of those seasons he helped lead the Patriots to the American Southwest Conference (ASC) Championships.
This past spring, Grafton was part of a magical run that carried the Patriots to the NCAA Division III National Championship, where they won their first title in program history by defeating Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) tournament champion, No. 6 Texas Lutheran University.
It was also the first trip for UT Tyler to play in the D3 World Series, which was earned by winning the NCAA DIII Central Regional with consecutive wins over Rhodes College.
In his two seasons as recruiting coordinator, Coach Grafton was responsible for bringing in 23 All-Conference and 8 All-Region performers, as well as 1 All-American, the programs first since 2013. He led a 2017 Patriot offense that boasted a .321 team batting average, scoring 338 runs, 7+ per game and tutored a sure handed Patriot Infield that turned a school record 49 double plays.
Grafton was a part of former head coach Chris Bertrand's staff for four seasons, earning a promotion after each of those seasons. Grafton continued serving as the programs recruiting coordinator and strength and conditioning coordinator, as well as working with infielders and hitters. On game days, Grafton coached third base.
Grafton, a graduate of Hendrix College, lettered three years for the Warriors as a catcher and an infielder. In 2007, he was named to the All-Academic Team in the SCAC. In 2011, Grafton finished his Master's degree at the University of Central Arkansas and was a volunteer assistant with the UCA Baseball team.
Prior to UT Tyler, Grafton was an assistant coach with the Conway High School baseball team in Arkansas and a private baseball and softball instructor in Martin, Tennessee.
Schweiss, an alumni pitcher for the UD Baseball program from 2009-12, was named the assistant coach prior to the 2016-17 academic year. Schweiss has been designated as the program's pitching coach during his stints both as an assistant coach and volunteer assistant coach. Schweiss has worked the past two seasons with head coach Erik Grafton. Schweiss handles the pitchers, which has been led by ace Conrad Voss. Voss earned 2019 All-SCAC First Team and another fellow left-hander Andrew Magness was also an all-conference recipient. Under Schweiss' guidance, Voss has led the Crusaders in innings and strikeouts the last three seasons and ranked atop the SCAC in wins the past two (2020 abbreviated season due to COVID-19). Jamie Wallace also made it into the top spot this spring for wins. Tyler Montemayor was tied for the league-lead in saves this spring and earned a nod on d3baseball.com team of the week. Schweiss handles a staff of 15 pitchers, including a bevy of lefthanders with seven total.
Schweiss had served on staff the past two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach. The final two years of the right-hander's career included the pitcher playing with former head coach Joe Myers – who finished his fourth season at the helm in 2018. Myers was an assistant coach and handled the pitchers during the last two years Schweiss pitched.
Schweiss also aids in the recruiting side of the position, having attended UD as an undergraduate and graduate student.
After Schweiss graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Finance, Schweiss signed with the Normal Cornbelters out of Normal, Illinois. Schweiss pitched four summers (2013-16) with the Cornbelters, logging a 25-23 record, 4.03 ERA, 71 appearances (61 starts), 375 innings, and 330 strikeouts over his career. In 2016, the native of Parker, Colorado, was named to the West Division All-Star Game.
In his collegiate career, Schweiss was a four-year letterwinner and is the all-time leader in the program for saves (9). In 2011, the co-Team MVP earned top 20 spots in NCAA Division III National Statistical Rankings. This included: 1.03 ERA (3rd), 5.68 hits allowed per nine innings (12th), and 9 wins (19th).
Other accolades garnered by Schweiss included: AD31 Baseball First Team (2010, '11), D3Baseball.com Honorable Mention All-America (2011), USCAA Baseball All-American Team (2011), All-SCAC Honorable Mention Team (2012), and SCAC Spring Student-Athlete Academic Honor Roll (2012).
In the offseason from the Cornbelters in 2014-16, Schweiss worked with the Dallas Independent School District. He helped build new databases in DISD system. Prior to that in his hometown, Schweiss coached at Bardo's Diamond Sports as a Youth Baseball Instructor from October 2013-April '14.
|Title:||Volunteer Assistant Coach|
Andrew Laux joins the University of Dallas baseball staff for the 2019-20 season as a Volunteer Assistant Coach. His focus will be coaching catchers, assist with pitchers, and assist with recruiting efforts.
Andrew Laux is in his seventh year as a coach. Some of the highlights of his coaching career were winning a conference championship at ABU and advancing to the Region Finals with Brookhaven, and the Conference Championship Series with ETBU.
Most recently he was the recruiting coordinator and worked with pitchers at Central Christian College in Kanasas.
His previous stop was at East Texas Baptist University where he was the catchers coach and bullpen coach. After ETBU, Andrew coached at Arlington Baptist University as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
Andrew began his coaching career at St. Joseph High School as an assistant coach in baseball, football, and basketball. He got his first college coaching opportunity at Brookhaven College, where he was an assistant coach and worked with pitchers and outfielders.
During the summers, Andrew has spent time as a head coach of the Park City Rangers of the Kansas Collegiate League, the Palo Duro Dillas of the Great Southwest Collegiate League and with the Brazos Valley Renegades baseball club.
He grew up in Keller, Texas, and was a pitcher at the University of Dallas for four years (lettered two years - 2010, 2011) while receiving a Bachelors degree in Theology ('13).
|Title:||Volunteer Assistant Coach|
Mark Peterson begins his first season with the University of Dallas baseball team as a volunteer assistant coach.
He played and lettered four years with the Crusaders from 2016-19 primarily as a first baseman. He also saw time at third base and designated hitter. Peterson earned Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) All-Sportsmanship Team his final two seasons, was on the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National All-Academic Team, and qualified for SCAC Academic Honor Roll four times.
Peterson graduated for the University of Dallas in May, 2019, with a Bachelors in Business.