Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Leave it to Lumpy for UWO volleyball

The Titans are currently 16-3 in 2016. Under Schaefer, the team hasn’t finished worse than fifth in conference.
[/media-credit] The Titans are currently 16-3 in 2016. Under Schaefer, the team hasn’t finished worse than fifth in conference.
Schaefer has won three Coach of the Year Awards.
[/media-credit] Schaefer has won three Coach of the Year Awards.

Brian Schaefer has been involved with UW Oshkosh volleyball every year except for two since 1992, as he was an original member of the men’s team, and he joined the coaching staff of the women’s team in 1998. During tryouts for the first men’s volleyball club team, Schaefer earned the nickname “Lumpy” from the organizers of the club.

While staying in Clements Hall during his freshman year, Schaefer came across a flyer advertising the start of a men’s volleyball club on campus. He had played with a group of friends in high school, but it wasn’t an actual team so he decided to try out.

“There was supposed to be three teams,” Schaefer said. “You had to pick what team you thought you were going to be on, so I put the ‘C’ team because I was some freshman who didn’t have a clue how good I was.”

Nick Neitzel and Jim Boos were the two organizers of the club. They had played on a men’s volleyball club at UW-Waukesha County so they decided to form a club at UWO. Boos said he wasn’t sure what kind of turnout they were going to have.

“We were in Albee Hall,” Boos said. “We had one net, we had 12 volleyballs that the intramural department gave us and we had 55 guys show up.”

After the tryout, Neitzel and Boos went over to Schaefer one night and started talking to him about the team. Schaefer said he remembers them asking him why he wrote down “C” team and he said he didn’t know how good he was.

“They told me, we think you’re going to be on the ‘A’ team,” Schaefer said. “But we can’t remember your name so we’re just going to call you Lumpy from ‘Leave it to Beaver’. I thought, you can call me whatever you want, just as long as I’m on the team.”

Lumpy is the nickname of Frank Bank’s character, Clarence Rutherford, on the TV show, “Leave it to Beaver.”

Boos and Nietzel were expecting seven or eight people to show up and if they were lucky maybe 15. Boos said they had to figure out some way to keep track of everyone.

“We were kind of just winging it as we went,” Boos said. “What we determined as we started to watch people, it was clear on who some of the better players were and what we needed to do was figure out a way to identify them.”

Boos said Schaefer (at the time) was fairly talented and had the skill to control the ball, pass it well and moved like he had played the game for a while.They needed to call him something both he and Neitzel would understand.

“He looked a lot like Lumpy from ‘Leave it to Beaver,’” Boos said. “So that’s Lumpy. We did that with a lot of other players too. That’s really what it came down to. Back then he looked a lot more like what Lumpy looked like.”

Boos didn’t know Schaefer’s personality at the time so the nickname was based solely on appearance.

“It was really his look,” Boos said. “Similar build, similar facial structure and darker hair. It was just one of those things where you look at someone and go ‘wow, that looks like whoever.’”

At the time it happened, Schaefer said he didn’t try to stop it because he was just trying to make the team and it was the first time meeting these guys.

“I have never thought of it as an embarrassing thing,” Schaefer said. “That’s basically who I am and that’s my name.”

Schaefer said he remembers most of the nicknames given to players on the men’s team.

“My roommate was Schmitt at the time so they started calling him Schmitty,” Schaefer said. “Another friend went by Chia for Chia pet because he had short black hair. We had a guy who looked like Bart Simpson so they nicknamed him Bart. Nick had the nickname Stick because he was 6’8 and was really skinny. Everyone had a nickname so I just thought whatever because I needed one, too.”

Boos said he and Neitzel came from a group of friends who mainly referred to each other by nicknames.

“We didn’t go by our formal names,” Boos said. “We all had nicknames for each other, therefore that’s kind of what we did.”

Since he was young enough and he didn’t know a whole lot of people in college, his name became Lumpy. Schaefer said even the few who did know him at UWO started using the nickname too.

“My roommate at the time, Cory, was a high school friend of mine and he instantly stopped calling me Brian and started calling me Lumpy,” Schaefer said. “If you’re on a team, most of them are your friends at that point.”

Schaefer went on to graduate from UW Oshkosh in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. He then left for two years to coach at Lakeland College in 1997 and UW-Green Bay in 1998. Schaefer returned to Oshkosh to join the women’s volleyball staff and took over the men’s program in 2000.

One story early in his tenure with the men’s team involved a trip to Nationals with one of his roommates and assistant coaches, Kevin Martin.

“We were at Nationals and I was on the team and also ran the team and I did all the hotel booking,” Schaefer said. “For Nationals, it was chaotic. You go and watch the matches and you’re not always with the team.”

Schaefer said Martin had to run back to the hotel while Schaefer stayed back. When Martin arrived at the hotel, he realized he forgot the key so he had to go up to the front desk and ask for a new one, but he forgot what Schaefer’s real first name was.

“The desk worker asked what name was it under?” Schaefer said. “He couldn’t remember Brian Schaefer even though I was his roommate for two years. He said I don’t know; we just call him Lumpy.”

When Martin later told Schaefer this story, Martin said the desk clerk had a very confused reaction when she heard this.

“He continued to struggle and she was laughing at the situation,” Schaefer said. “She started saying Brian very slowly and he goes, Brian Schaefer!”

Schaefer considers that one of the best Lumpy stories there is and he tells it every chance he gets.

“We always do funny moments at camps and that’s one of my go-tos.”

In 2001, Schaefer earned his master’s degree in educational leadership at UWO and in 2004, he took over for Marty Petersen as head coach of the women’s volleyball team during the season and was the leading candidate for the full time position in 2005.

During the hiring process for the job, Schaefer said a former coach asked him if he was going to let his players call him Lumpy because she wasn’t sure what that was all about.

“She wasn’t negative, but she felt it to be strange,” Schaefer said. “People respect you for who you are and not your name. Obviously I got the job so that wasn’t the wrong answer.”

From there, Schaefer went on to win at least a share of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in five of his first six seasons with the Titans. Schaefer certainly left off right where Petersen was as he continues to build the women’s program.

One thing Schaefer said he does during his recruiting is make sure the girls know what his name is and then tells them the story behind it.

“For my recruiting style I’ll say, coach Lumpy, Brian ‘Lumpy’ Schaefer,” Schaefer said. “Recruits will say, ‘I saw you signed the letter as coach Lumpy and I talked to a high school coach and they know you, but they don’t call you Brian and then I tell them.’”

On the men’s side, Schaefer has had even more success. The Titans have won eleven Wisconsin Volleyball Conference titles including the last eight. The men have won 13 straight Midwest Ten Conference championships while winning six collegiate club Division I national titles including the last three.

With all that recognition, Schaefer said he is certainly known throughout the volleyball state and the first name that comes to mind is Lumpy.

“I think a lot of people know Oshkosh volleyball, especially the men’s,” Schaefer said. “They might not even know who I am, but they know of this person.”

Whether it’s around the UWO athletic offices or out in the volleyball community, Schaefer said he will hear Lumpy more times than Brian.

“Most of my players still say, coach or coach Lumpy or just Lumpy; guys and girls,” Schaefer said. “All my colleagues do, or at least 95 percent of them do. Darryl [Sims] does, Vicci [Stimac] does. So I know I’m respected in the volleyball community for doing my job and doing a lot for it.”

Former player on the men’s team and current assistant coach of the women’s team, Jon Ellmann, said he remembers it being an odd nickname at first, but that’s just what everyone in the gym called him.

Now that he works with Schaefer, Ellmann said in formal settings it will be Schaefer, but most of the time he will use Lumpy and different forms of the name.

“His role is head coach and because I feel some situations require formal address, I still call him coach Schaefer in professional written correspondence as well as some in personal situations,” Ellmann said. “For the most part it’s Lumpy, Lump Dog, Lump Dizzle or countless other names that have just become common place in the UWO volleyball world.”

For current freshman Samantha Jaeke, she remembers hearing the name Lumpy at a UWO volleyball camp in middle school. Now that she’s on the team, Jaeke said she finally has heard the full story.

“At first I didn’t really understand why his name was Lumpy, but I just went along with it,” Jaeke said.

Jaeke said it is completely normal to call Schaefer coach Lumpy.

“Being a freshman, calling my coach Lumpy isn’t weird to me because I have always known him as Lumpy,” Jaeke said. “It would be weird if we had to start calling him coach Brian.”

The other aspect to having a nickname as that, is telling a parent they should speak to Lumpy.

Program director of Southport Volleyball Club and longtime colleague of Schaefer’s, Brian Sharkey, has sent numerous boys, and in the near future, girls to play for Schaefer. Sharkey said it’s always interesting to call Schaefer Lumpy to parents.

“Imagine the first time you tell a mom, ‘I encourage you to send your son or daughter to go play for Lumpy,’” Sharkey said. “No matter how you say it or try and spin it, there is no way to make that statement sound appealing.”

With a nickname like Lumpy, it can be a little strange having players call you that, but Schaefer said he knows the players understand how to separate his seriousness on the court and his sarcasm off.

“My players know I am there for them and they know I’ll do anything for them,” Schaefer said. “When they say Lumpy, they’re not giggling in the back of their head. It’s just like my first name. If they have a question during the game and they say Lumpy, that [is] just like saying coach Schaefer.”

Boos said the best thing about the nickname is when Schaefer personalized his license plate in college and Schaefer said he still has it today.

“I have ‘Lumpy VB’ as my license plate,” Schaefer said. “The first people that saw that was Jim [Boos] and his wife and they laughed really hard because it’s an official personalized thing that I’m embracing.”

Even though Lumpy on “Leave it to Beaver” was a little more mischievous, Boos believes Schaefer embraces the nickname in different ways.

“To me it means someone who is outgoing, easy to get along with and [someone] everyone knows,” Boos said. “If you say the name Lumpy in the volleyball community, everybody knows who that is, which is really neat. And it’s a credit to him and what he’s been able to do in his time there.”

Schaefer said he isn’t the type of person who will ever grow out of his college nickname and he plans on keeping it for as long as he can.

“I don’t think people roll their eyes and wonder why others call me Lumpy; it’s just how it is,” Schaefer said. “I’ll be 85 hopefully and people will still be calling me Lumpy.” “

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