Dallas Center-Grimes Fillies’ head coach Steve Schlafke was awarded the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s Softball Golden Plaque of Distinction Award on Friday, July 21 at the State Softball Tournament.
“It was a great thing for our school and a great thing for our community,” said Schlafke, “it’s stuff like this, that’s more than just about me, it’s about everybody that I’ve had the chance to come in contact with.”
Schlafke has been the softball coach for the Fillies for 15 years and has been coaching for a total of 42 years. Prior to DC-G, he coached at Garnavillo, Audubon and Adel-DeSoto-Minburn.
In his career, he has led 13 teams to the State Tournament and three of which the Fillies have won the State Championship.
In 1986, Schlafke is believed to have led the national high school record for the longest high school game every played when he coached Garnavillo in a 31-inning game against Waterloo West.
“Winning and losing is part of the game, there’s so much more to the game than that. I’ve had the opportunity to coach teams and I’ve had the opportunity to coach players and that’s what this is, an opportunity. From my stand point, you get the chance to coach all these people and we got to play in the State Tournament at different schools that I’ve been at and I’ve got to coach kids who’ve won State Championships just a couple years ago. Those are obviously what a lot of people remember but those things only happen a certain number of times in your career whereas relationships you have from one day to the next is the long lasting remembrance.”
Schlafke says, as a coach, focusing on the growth and development of his players is more important than anything else.
“Just having the opportunity to coach kids, having the opportunity to coach young female players and help them grow as players, grow as people and then see how they are by the time they graduate and see how they move on in their careers is the most satisfying part of the job not because you evaluate your career by wins and losses, but in my experiences it’s more how the players develop, or how they come along and grow into young adults.”
Schlafke has been very involved with the IGHSAU since the beginning of his career. He started coaching in 1976, immediately became a member of the IGHSAU Softball Advisory Committee and was asked to speak at the coaching school the following Summer. He has been a clinician of several camps and clinics at both the high school and college level. In the past, Schlafke has helped coach the All-Star teams as well as helped select the All-Star and All-State teams. He has coached four 100 game winners and two IGHSAU Hall of Famers. Schlafke has also been inducted into the Iowa Girls Coaches Association Coach Hall of Fame.
The Golden Plaque of Distinction Award honors the Iowa coach who has demonstrated a successful career while making notable contributions toward school, community and the coaching profession.
Schlafke wanted to recognize all of the people that have helped him along the way.
“The support I got from the people that were my mentors, the support from my family overall, my wife and everything like that, none of these things are possible without them. It’s not just me, it’s all about my family, my mentors, the players, the parents, my school district. It’s those people that deserve a lot of credit for helping me get the opportunity to have an honor like that. You know there’s a lot of things that happen, it’s not just one person, you have to have a lot of help. I’ve had help at every school district I’ve been at and the honor is shared with all those people.”