Former LRSC AD, women's basketball head coach Schwab inducted to NJCAA Hall of Fame
By Sam Herder
Journal Sports Editor
Duane Schwab, the former longtime athletic director and head women’s basketball coach at Lake Region State College, has been inducted into the Class of 2016 NCJAA Hall of Fame.
Schwab was the athletic director at LRSC from 1990-2014. He coached the women’s basketball team from 1989-2014, where he won 572 games, won 14 Mon-Dak Conference titles and appeared in nine NCJAA National Tournaments.
“It’s probably the highest accomplishment he can get as far as the NJCAA goes,” Danny Mertens, who took over the role of athletic director and head women’s basketball coach, said. “It’s pretty honoring to click on the website and have your mentor, I mean, he taught me everything I know. I spent quite a few years with him and we had some good teams.”
Schwab graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Devils Lake in 1966. He played basketball and baseball at LRSC in his next two years, earning all-conference in basketball his sophomore year and all-conference in baseball both years.
He went on to play basketball for one year and baseball for two years at Minot State College.
Schwab began his coaching career shortly after in 1970, beginning as the assistant men’s basketball coach at LRSC. He was also named the head baseball coach.
From there, Schwab left his footprint on several area teams in the next two decades, ranging from Lakota boys basketball and football to basketball at Crary and North Dakota School for the Deaf.
In 1989, Schwab was hired as the head women’s basketball coach, where his team recorded at least 20 wins in his first four seasons and appeared in the NCJAA National Tournament the first three years.
He went on to have 16 20-win seasons and three 30-win seasons. Schwab only had four losing seasons in 25 years at LRSC.
In his tenure, Schwab coached eight All-Americans.
“Most of the girls, any of them will tell you what he’s meant to Lake Region and what he’s meant as a mentor or father figure to a lot of women,” Mertens said. “It’s pretty heartwarming. It’s quite an accomplishment for not only Daune himself, but for Lake Region State College.
Schwab was named the North Dakota Female Coach of the Year in 1991-92 and Coach of the Year in 1991-92 and 2004-05 by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association. Schwab was also named Mon-Dak Conference Coach of the Year in 2013-14.
He was inducted into the LRSC Hall of Fame in 1992 and his 1989-90 Lady Royals basketball team that went 31-4 and appeared in the national tournament was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2012.
His footprint left on the Royals program has seen continued success. The Royals went 26-8 and advanced to the national tournament in 2014-15. This season, LRSC currently holds a 21-6 record.
“(Schwab’s induction) is good for Lake Region,” Mertens said. “We got our first national player of the week ever. We got our first coach ever in the Hall of Fame. The things for Lady Royals have sure been positive. Now we’re playing for a chance to win our conference.”
Schwab spends his summers in the area at Wood Lake and heads to Arizona for the winter.