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July 12, 2024

Steve Bartlein leads rebirthed Falcons Baseball

November 1, 2023

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls continues to expand its athletic lineup, as men’s baseball is set to return as a varsity sport for the 2025 season. The program has been given new life after a lengthy 21-year absence from UWRF. The Falcons are set to compete in the WIAC, which currently features seven universities from the UW System.

In early August, Steve Bartlein was named the head coach of the rebirthed Falcons. As a player, Bartlein experienced success with UW-Whitewater from 2010-2013, receiving multiple WIAC accolades in his time with the Warhawks. From 2017-2023, he served as an assistant coach for the UW-Whitewater baseball program and grabbed multiple conference titles in the process. 

Coach Bartlein acknowledges the long-standing drought of men’s baseball on campus but sees the program's implementation as a sign of renewed interest. As UWRF continues to implement varsity programs, Bartlein sees the school as having an increasingly relevant athletic department. “We’re seeing a lot of good trends in athletics here.” He also considers the Falcon Center as a sign of UWRF’s commitment to building a home for student-athletes. “I think every recruit I’ve had on campus so far has been really impressed with this facility.”

Though the Falcons are still early into the recruiting process, Coach Bartlein has wasted no time scouting talent. He says, “A majority of my time has been spent reaching out to different high schools, clubs, and kids.” In addition to reaching out, Bartlein spends a great deal of his Fridays and Saturdays with different baseball clubs, engaging with players and building a network. 

Along with building a team full of talented players comes the necessity of role-model coaches. A vital portion of Bartlein’s job will be choosing his staff, but he won’t be hiring any coaches this year. However, his time at Whitewater certainly gives him some names to consider in 2024. Bartlein said, “What you consider is people that are looking to get into college athletics, and can bring together knowledge and experience to help our student-athletes. When you’re a student-athlete on a team, you want to be around people that you can relate to and feel like they’re helping you progress.”

This will be Coach Bartlein’s first crack at a head coach position in the WIAC. He said, “I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity at a better time.”As Bartlein is no longer under contract with UW-Whitewater, he’ll be moving his wife and two young children to River Falls this month. UWRF welcomes him and his family to River Falls. 

The Falcons will take the field in the Spring of 2025, hoping to feel the success of Coach Bartlein’s early commitment and dedication to the program.

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