Program Spotlight: Northwest Nazarene University

Head Coach Joe Schaefer of Northwest Nazarene University joined us for this segment of the Program Spotlight. He offered some great advice on some considerations players should have when contacting college coaches. Players should consider all levels, and keep an open mind when looking at potential schools.

The Nighthawks are an NCAA Division II school that competes in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and recently finished the 2021 and 2022 seasons as GNAC Champions and made a trip to the 2021 NCAA Division II College World Series after winning the West Region Title.

“Reach out to coaches at all levels. Don’t just focus on the biggest schools.”

– Coach Schaefer, Northwest Nazarene University
courtesy of

Quick Facts

School:Northwest Nazarene University
Division:NCAA Division II
Conference:Great Northwest Athletic Conference
Location:Nampa, ID
Student Population:2,000
Questionnaire:Recruit Form

Recruiting Q&A – with Head Coach Joe Schaefer

What are your typical scouting methods?

Mostly network and recommendations, also summer and fall tournaments, as well as video and services.

How do you recommend players contact you if they are interested in your program?


If a player contacts you, what are you most interested in?

Video, stats, and schedules.

Any general advice for players that want to play college baseball?

Reach out to coaches at all levels. Don’t just focus on the biggest schools. Most lower-level schools will follow up with players showing interest in their school. Also attend camps at schools you are interested in.

Any other comments about your program that you’d like to share?

We mostly recruit from the Western US. We typically recruit high academic kids looking to study business or engineering. High character is a must.

>> Read more: Recruiting Q&As from college coaches <<

Program Overview – Knighthawks Baseball

Head Coach Joe Schaefer has had success at every stop in his college coaching career and has taken the Northwest Nazarene University baseball program to new heights. Coach Schaefer has led the Nighthawks to the GNAC tournament every year during his tenure and most recently put together some of the most successful seasons in the school’s history.

In 2021, the Nighthawks won the NCAA West Region title and moved on to the NCAA Division II College World Series. With a winning percentage over .600 at NNU, Coach Schaefer has coached several players to earn post-season honors including an All-American, while taking home Conference and Region Coach of the Year honors himself.

The Nighthawks play their home games at Elmore W. Vail Field. The facility features pro-style dugouts, and artificial turf infield and natural grass outfield and is located right on campus, making it very accessible to the players at all times.

During his coaching career, Coach Schaefer has developed several players that have been selected in the MLB draft and many more that went on to sign professional contracts all while continuing to build teams that compete on the national level every season. This is a sign of a well-rounded program. Players are given the opportunities and guidance to develop their skills and move on to the next level, but the program’s success is not sacrificed due to individual goals. It’s clear there has been a great team culture established under Coach Schaefer and we expect there will be many more winning seasons in the near future for the Nighthawks.

The Nighthawks host several camps throughout the year which are always a great chance for high school players to learn more about the program and coaching staff, and showcase their talents. For the most up-to-date camp info, please visit the program’s website here.

School Overview – Northwest Nazarene University

Northwest Nazarene University was founded on a liberal arts philosophy of education and is one of eight regional colleges in the Northwest United States affiliated with the Church of Nazarene. Located in Nampa, ID, just 20 miles west of Boise, the area is both urban and rural which provides students with a wide range of opportunities and interests to explore.

The University offers 16 degree programs and 64 majors, and is especially recognized for its business and engineering programs. Voted as one of the Best Regional Universities in the West Region by U.S. News & World Report, Northwest Nazarene University is a great opportunity for students to challenge themselves in both athletics and academics.

Students who are interested in learning more about the area, academic programs, admission requirements, and student life at Northwest Nazarene University are invited to visit for more information.

Closing Remarks

Big thanks to Coach Schaefer for sharing his answers to the Recruiting Q&A. To further emphasize his point that players should consider schools at all levels, we believe this advice should be taken to heart. Northwest Nazarene University is a perfect example of the benefits and opportunities that a Division II level school has. Players at NNU compete on a national level and have been able to experience something many players, at any level, don’t get to… a College World Series appearance.

Another interesting point that Coach Schaefer brought up was that word-of-mouth is a big part of his recruiting process. This is important to note because it stresses the importance of always acting professionally and the pride players should take in their reputation and image. The college baseball community is small, and many college coaches keep in regular contact with each other and are often former teammates or co-workers. If coaches recognize a player is talented but not a great fit for their program, the may recommend them to other coaches they have a relationship with. Keeping these doors open can be very beneficial during the recruiting process and can lead to many more opportunities for players. On the other hand, if a player is disrespectful, a bad teammate, or unprofessional in any way, this reputation will likely spread.

Players interested in Northwest Nazarene University and the baseball program are encouraged to follow Coach Schaefer’s advice and visit the above links to learn more. Again, thank you to Coach Schaefer and we wish the Nighthawks the best of luck in their upcoming season!

Kevin Zak

Former independent professional player and DII All-American. 10+ years of coaching experience at the high school level. Passionate about the mental aspects of the game and diving deep into the technical side of swing mechanics.

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