Ryan Schalk returns home and joins the Laker’s softball coaching staff


Courtesy / GVSU Lakers

Josh Carlson, Staff Writer

A familiar face has returned to the Grand Valley State University women’s softball team coaching staff this season.

New assistant coach Ryan Schalk, who was on the staff in 2017 and graduated from GVSU in 2014, has come home as an assistant for the Lakers in the 2022 season after a three-year stint at Toledo University.

Schalk has an extensive coaching resume that he brings to the Lakers staff. He started his coaching career as an assistant coach for Muskegon Community College in 2009, where he was then promoted to head coach in 2014. In two years Schalk led MCC to a national ranking of ninth and won an MCCAA State Championship before leaving to join the Lakers in 2017.

After his first tenure with the Lakers, Schalk then went to Wisconsin where he was hired as the head coach of Alverno College in 2018 as he joined the Toledo staff and helped coach the team to the MAC tournament championship win in program history.

Glad to have Schalk back on staff, head coach Dana Callihan considers this hire a no-brainer and is excited for what the future holds with the returning staff member.

“I wish he would have stayed the whole time he was gone,” Callihan said. “We have known him for a long time, and I know the quality of coach that he is, and we are happy to have him back. He loves the game, he respects the game, and he knows how to teach the game. He relates well with the players, so he is definitely going to be a benefit for us.”

For Schalk, this is a return to a place that he is very familiar with having coached in the area for multiple schools and grown up here.

“I’m from Muskegon,” Schalk said. “So, this is back home for me. I graduated from Grand Valley, so I’m obviously familiar with the campus. I’ve been to a few places in between, but just everything (here), the facilities, the commitment to athletics, the school; everything at Grand Valley is top-notch. They do a great job with every program, and once I found out I was going to be back in the area it was hard to not want to get back into here.”

As for what his role as an assistant for the team will be, Schalk says that he will be used as a utility coach for the Lakers.

“I will be working a lot with the infield, a little bit with the defense in general,” Schalk said. “Then in-game I will probably be in the dugout with hitters just talking a little bit of strategy. What the pitchers doing, what are we trying to do; just game plan stuff.”

Another positive for his return to the Lakers is getting to work with coach Callihan again.

“I’ve known Dana for a long time,” Schalk said. “I first met Dana when she was still an assistant here at Grand Valley, just working some different camps in the area. We worked some defensive sessions together, so I got to know her there. Back when I was going to school here, I would stop in and bug her. At that time, I was coaching at Muskegon so I’d ask her if she had anything to say or anything new she had that I could learn.”

Coach Schalk has a lot of time to get adjusted to his new role on the Lakers coaching staff as they wait to return in the spring of 2022 for their opening game in Ohio against Ashland College on March 19.