Honors & Awards
Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll (Fall 2002; Fall 2003)
If you asked Head Coach Mike Anderson which Husker player made the most strides during fall practice, the second-year coach would not hesitate with an answer.
"Chad (Steele) is without a doubt our most improved player from last year, both on the offensive and defensive end," Anderson said.
After missing all of the 2002 season with injuries, Steele hit .278 with four RBIs in 26 contests last year, as he flew under the radar of most Husker baseball observers.
The anonymity Steele enjoyed at the end of the 2003 season may have ended with a superb summer and a torrid fall. The Omaha native turned in one of the best summers by any Husker, playing for Nevada (Mo.) of the Jayhawk League. Steele led the league with a .387 average with a homer and 39 RBIs in 43 games. He led the team in average and RBIs, while ranking second on the team in on-base percentage (.474) and hits (55) to help the Griffons to a 32-21 record. During the fall, Steele was second on the team with a .438 average and 15 RBIs in just 63 at-bats. He led all hitters with a .563 average in the Red/White Series to end the fall, going 9-for-16 with three RBIs to provide most of the offensive highlights for the White squad in defeat.
Steele brings a lot of versatility to the lineup, as he is the top backup to two-year starter John Grose and could also see action in the outfield or at designated hitter, especially against right-handers.
"We are looking for Chad to find a role in the lineup, and hit anywhere from fifth to seventh in our lineup," Anderson said. "He had a tremendous fall, and we are hoping that he can carry that into the spring."
2003 - Redshirt Freshman
Steele was a valuable reserve for the Huskers, appearing in 26 games at catcher, left field and designated hitter. He batted .278 with four RBIs in limited duty, making 15 starts. Steele saw most of his time when John Grose was limited to DH duty, as Anderson looked to get the left-handed hitting Steele in the lineup. He also showed a good eye at the plate, walking nine times and finishing the year with a .391 on-base percentage.
Steele, who had three multi-hit games in 15 starts, made an impact in his first start, going 3-for-4 with a stolen base against Minnesota on March 2, helping Nebraska to the Dairy Queen Baseball Classic title. He also had two hits against Missouri on April 13, when he scored twice in NU’s 7-6 win in the series finale, and against McNeese State on April 16.
Steele, who batted .227 in 10 conference appearances, went 1-for-5 with an RBI at the Big 12 Tournament, driving in a run against No. 16 Baylor in the second round on May 23. He came off the bench against Eastern Michigan in the NCAA Tournament, going 0-for-1 with a walk and an RBI against the Eagles on May 31.
2002 - Freshman
Steele took a medical redshirt season after suffering a shoulder injury in fall practice. The injury required surgery, and Steele, who was cleared to practice in March, missed the entire season.
Steele was a three-year starter on the diamond for coach Mike Filipowicz at Omaha Gross High School. A two-time All-Nebraska selection by the Omaha World-Herald and two-time Super-State selection by the Lincoln Journal Star, Steele ranked fourth in the state with a .487 average and 22 RBIs, while ranking among the state leaders in runs scored (33), doubles (14) and stolen bases (10). Defensively, he committed just one error and allowed only three stolen bases as Gross compiled an 18-8 record in 2001. As a junior, he ranked among the state leaders with a .516 average with 40 RBIs and a .916 slugging percentage. Including both high school and American Legion ball, Steele hit .456 with 17 homers and 223 RBIs in 227 games, while drawing 105 walks compared to 37 strikeouts. He also displayed superb speed, posting 103 doubles, 33 triples and 69 stolen bases. A three-time all-conference selection in baseball, Steele also starred for the Gross football team for two seasons, earning honorable-mention all-state honors as a junior and senior, and was the state high school powerlifting champion in 2001. As impressive as his numbers were on the diamond, they almost pale in comparison to his academic accolades. Steele scored a 34 on his ACT, carried a 4.15 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and was a Regents Scholar. Steele looked at Notre Dame, Pacific, Creighton, Iowa and Stanford before choosing Nebraska.
Birthdate: Jan. 18, 1983; Parents: Jim and Diane Steele; Brothers: Jake, A.J. and Cal; Sister: Micaela; Fiancee: Michelle Blecha; Major: Biological Sciences.