New Saints at the Helm: Mike Dahl
By: Kyle Showalter
After three years of serving as an assistant coach at Presentation College, Mike Dahl has been handed the reigns to the baseball program.
Mike Dahl grew up in Shakopee, Minnesota and was a three sport athlete in high school, playing football, basketball, and baseball. He lettered three years in both football and basketball, and lettered in all four years in baseball. Dahl’s success on the diamond continued in college, as he shined for the University of Charleston in West Virginia. At age 22, fresh out of college, Dahl began perusing a career in coaching, scoring an internship with the Pittsburg Pirates in their video analytics department. After finishing two years of the internship, Dahl spent one year as an assistant coach at division III Schriener University in Texas. He then moved on to become a grad assistant for two years at Northern University where he earned his master’s degree in sports performance and leadership. Once his time as a grad assistant came to a close, Dahl moved across town to Presentation College, where he has been an assistant coach for the last three seasons.
Moving from assistant to head coach has been a big change for Dahl. He now has the responsibility to run the entire program, but he doesn’t think of it as a chore. Instead, the opportunity to work early mornings and late nights is thought of as a privilege because he gets to come to work every day and do what he loves. Adapting his coaching style to his new job has been one of the biggest learning experiences for Dahl. “Think of it as coaching 25 young student athletes that you have to adjust to individually. Philosophies are set in place and you have to apply that to each individual and get them to buy in.”
That sentiment of “buying in” is something that Dahl has preached since his first day on the job. One of the first things he told his players this fall was how he wanted to change the culture of PC baseball. He wants to bring out the best in his players and believes that establishing a culture that demands hard work and commitment from his team will do just that. Redshirt junior outfielder Jesse Spangler said of coach Dahl “He demands respect and is straightforward with the guys about what he wants. The energy from the team is different this year. He put an emphasis on changing the culture here and it’s working.” Senior pitcher Connor Perry echoes Spangler’s message, saying “Coach Dahl’s organization puts us in position to be at our absolute best every time we meet. He expects nothing less, and has really brought the best out of the entire team.” Dahl has taken the culture he is trying to build into consideration when recruiting future Saints. “We want to find guys that fit the mold both athletically and academically that will buy in and help us win in any way they can.”
In the short-term, Coach Dahl would like to see the men on the team become better versions of themselves. He believes the baseball roster as currently constructed is ready to win a lot of games this upcoming season. He wants to see his players continue to improve every day, both as ballplayers and as men, and wants to continue to graduate his players from PC. Dahl’s long-term goals at PC are crystal clear; he wants to win, and win some more. “I want to come in and help establish Presentation College as a perennial powerhouse in the North Star Athletic Association.”
When asked to explain what it means to be a Saint, Dahl takes a second to ponder. He looks around the room, smiles, and says one word: “Pride.”