Steve Gust is entering his fourth season as head baseball coach for the University of Minnesota Crookston. In his first three seasons with the Golden Eagles, Gust has taken the U of M Crookston from the bottom of the NSIC to a consistent contender in the top half of the league. He has helped lead the Golden Eagles to back-to-back 20 win seasons (the best two seasons in program history) and back-to-back NSIC Tournament appearances.
In his first three seasons as head coach, he has amassed 63 wins while coaching the U of M Crookston. The previous two seasons before his arrival at Minnesota Crookston, the Golden Eagles had just two victories. In his first season leading the ship, he quickly got the U of M Crookston on a winning track as they picked up 14 wins during the 2015 season and kept a lot of games close. The 2015 team was led by Ryan Haggstrom, who earned All-NSIC Gold Glove honors for his glovework at first base. In addition, the Golden Eagles had success in the classroom with senior Jesse Jennings being named to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team.
In 2016, Minnesota Crookston built on the previous season and went a step further as they put forth the best season in program history with 25 wins and the team's first NSIC Tournament appearance since 2001. The Golden Eagles would finish sixth in the conference standings and set countless school records. Gust's squad was led by 12 seniors who helped set the standard for the program. The Golden Eagles had three players named to All-NSIC squads as ace pitcher Nolan Wahlberg, designated hitter Kenny Perez and closer Zach Seipel were all named to the All-NSIC Second Team. Perez also earned All-Region honors from D2CAA and NCBWA. In addition, senior first baseman Haggstrom was named UMC Teambackers Outstanding Athlete of the Year.
After losing 12 seniors in 2016, the Golden Eagles knew it would be tough to rebound but they were able to do so and make it to back-to-back NSIC Tournament appearances with 24 wins. Minnesota Crookston would fall just one win shy of their school record 25 wins. The U of M Crookston was led on the mound by Zach Seipel, who was among the nation's top closers with 12 saves. Seipel earned All-NSIC Second Team honors, as did center fielder Anthony Stewart. Stewart and East Grand Forks-native Reed Hjelle would earn All-NSIC Gold Glove. Stewart also became the first player in program history to earn the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove, given to the top nine Division II defensive players in the country. In the classroom, Crookston-native Aaron Hollcraft led the way, earning UMC's Student-Athlete of the Year honors.
A native of Sherack, Minn. and a graduate of East Grand Forks H.S., Gust is no stranger to the region having coached at the University of North Dakota and Sacred Heart H.S., prior to helping to turn around the program at Northland Community and Technical College. Gust then spent six seasons as the head coach at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D.
Gust accumulated over 150 wins in his six seasons. His time at Dakota Wesleyan was highlighted by his first two seasons at the helm in which he posted records of 35-18 and 32-21. His 2009 squad was crowned Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Tournament Champions and earned a chance to play in the NAIA National Tournament. Four of his six squads at Dakota Wesleyan placed in the top four in the GPAC.
In 2014, Gust led Dakota Wesleyan to a 27-24 mark. The Tigers battled several NSIC teams on the season, falling just short in three games against Minot State University and Northern State University. His 2014 team was highlighted by All-GPAC First Team pitcher Kyle Larson, a Red Lake Falls, Minn., native. Gust has found much success with players from Northwest Minnesota, including Larson and 2013 GPAC Player of the Year Michael Lukasson from East Grand Forks, Minn and 2012 GPAC Pitcher of the Year Ethan Opsahl from Twin Valley, Minn.
Gust's teams also found success off the field, as his 2014 team maintained a 3.03 Grade Point Average (GPA) during the 2013-14 academic year.
In six seasons at Dakota Wesleyan, Gust coached 47 All-GPAC selections, three GPAC Gold Glove winners, one GPAC Pitcher of the Year, one GPAC Player of the Year, two All-Americans and 11 NAIA Scholar-Athletes.
Prior to arriving at Dakota Wesleyan, Gust spent four seasons as the head coach at Northland Community and Technical College. Gust left the school as one of the most successful coaches in program history. His Pioneers' teams went 92-75 over four seasons, and Gust earned Minnesota Community College Conference North Division Coach-of-the-Year honors in 2005. NCTC qualified for the MCCC State Tournament all four seasons.
In his final season at NCTC, Gust led the Pioneers to a school record 27 wins and a second-place finish at the State Tournament. His squad also advanced to the NJCAA Region 13 Tournament in 2008, where they finished third. Gust also spent his summers coaching the East Grand Forks American Legion baseball team and amassed 466 total victories.
Prior to taking over Northland Community and Technical College, Gust spent a season as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater, the University of North Dakota. Before making the transition to college baseball, Gust served as the head coach at Sacred Heart H.S. in East Grand Forks, N.D. He was named Coach of the Year three times during his time at Sacred Heart, while amassing 132 wins.
In 2010, Gust spent the summer as an assistant coach for the Mankato Moondogs, who are a part of the Northwoods League – one of the top collegiate leagues in North America. He helped coach seven players who went on to sign pro contracts.
In 2012, Gust was chosen as a head coach for the U.S. Baseball Championships North vs. South All-Star Game in Virginia. The game, which featured high school baseball players ages 17 and under from around the United States, was nationally televised.
Gust graduated from UND in 1993 with a degree in physical education and coaching. In 2010, he graduated with a master's degree and education policy and administration from Dakota Wesleyan. He is married to Anita and has two sons, Trenton, and Tommy John and a daughter Jaeden.