Vice President of Campus Facilities & Athletics,
Head Baseball Coach
New Mexico native Steve Appel was named the Head Baseball Coach of the University of the Southwest in June of 2014. Appel has quickly made his mark on the Mustang Baseball program and has led the Mustangs to over 200 wins in his 7 years – the most of any baseball coach on record in a 7 year span on USW record. In 2022, Appel guided USW to its 2nd consecutive RRAC tournament and won 33 games which is the 2nd most in program history and also the most wins since 2003. In each year since the arrival of Appel, USW has continued to win more games each year, now making them a yearly contender in the RRAC.
Appel and his staff have built and remodeled the baseball facility. Appel aided in the largest donation in school history, which was used to build the indoor baseball facility, renovate Jake Williams Field, which includes upgraded playing service, new metal fence and renovated grandstand area. Over the last couple of years Appel aided in reconstructing the new backstop which features a new netting system, concrete wall, and padding from dugout to dugout, new bullpen areas, installation of 30 pine trees along the 1st and 3rd base fences, and fully enclosed the facility with metal fencing.
Off the field, Appel and his staff continue to strive in excellence. His players continue to work tirelessly in the community with various community outreach programs. The team has also built a strong foundation in the classroom, maintaining over a 3.0 team GPA in the last five years.
Appel came to USW after serving as head coach at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma. While at OPSU, Appel transformed the Aggie baseball team into a disciplined program that was being built to succeed in the highly competitive NCAA Division II Heartland Conference. Under his leadership, OPSU baseball student-athletes also excelled in the classroom as the team GPA improved from 2.20 in 2011 to 3.30 in 2014. During his tenure, Appel was the catalyst for a number of facility enhancements that turned the OPSU baseball field into one of the top facilities in the Heartland Conference.
Appel, a Socorro, New Mexico native, began his intercollegiate athletic playing career at Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas, where he received his associate’s degree before continuing his collegiate playing career at the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Connecticut where he served as team captain for the baseball program, earned his Bachelor of Science degree with Magna Cum Laude honors and was also awarded his Master of Science degree. Immediately following his collegiate playing career, Appel joined the coaching staff at his alma mater as an assistant pitching coach and began his climb in the baseball coaching profession. Appel was named the UB baseball program’s top assistant and pitching coach in 2006 and by 2009 had constructed a pitching staff that finished the season with a 3.25 ERA and was ranked sixth in the nation.
In 2019, Appel was added the Director of Athletics tag along with the Head Baseball Coach position. In the Spring of 2021, Appel made the big decision to relocate all of its Athletic programs to Sky Ranch, located in the Tyler, TX area in order for the teams to compete during the COVID year in which colleges and universities were not allowed to play home games. In this year, each team was able to fully complete their schedules while playing all their games on the road. The teams were based on the campus of Sky Ranch, where everyone was able to practice, study, and live normally during the tough times. Later in the summer of 2022, Appel was also named the Director of Facilities on campus.