By Grace Smith | Broadcast Reporter
A man who did it all and known to so many as “Mr. Baylor,” Emil Ernest “Dutch” Schroeder, is remembered far beyond the Baylor community. It’s an understatement to say he left behind a lasting legacy.
Intentional beyond belief, it is said of Schroeder that he never forgot any of his former students or players. A life full of friends and family and indeed all things Baylor.
At the age of 96, Schroeder passed away on Oct. 2, in Clifton. He checked more boxes than anyone ever could, even going into his last days. From former Baylor baseball coach to teacher, to friend, to “B” Association executive director, to greeter and bed & breakfast waiter, Schroeder did it all. He knew everyone, and everyone certainly knew him. So much so that Schroeder would send out somewhere around 500 Christmas cards each year.
“We will forever be impacted by the life and legacy of Dutch Schroeder—an incomparable letter winner, coach, teacher, and friend,” said Baylor VP and Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades in a statement. “Dutch had an unparalleled passion for Baylor University and an unwavering belief in the opportunities afforded to young people through sport. He was the ‘heart and soul’ of the “B” Association and an inspiration to generations of Baylor student-athletes. Dutch’s loved ones are in our prayers and thoughts. Even as we grieve this loss, we celebrate a life well-lived. There will never be another Dutch.”
Growing up in Austin, Schroeder was born Jan. 25, 1924. He was the president of his class at Austin High School and attended the University of Texas before joining the military.
The year before Schroeder arrived at Baylor, he volunteered to serve in the United States Navy following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Upon hearing of the attacks, Schroeder initially wanted to enlist but was told he was too young, so he spent four years as a quartermaster on vessels in the South Pacific. His ship was one of the many that docked in Tokyo Harbor when the Japanese surrendered. In 1946, Dutch was discharged and spent his last semester at Texas, where he would soon be off to Waco in the spring of 1947.
Schroeder’s beginning years at Baylor were spent either playing baseball or with Betty Lou Swan. Swan and Schroeder married in June of 1948. The two newlyweds had to plan their honeymoon around the NCAA baseball playoffs that year. A love that ran strong, they were together for 68 years until Betty passed away on Oct. 4, 2016. The dynamic duo was seen at every men’s and women’s sporting event at Baylor.
After graduating from the green and gold, Schroeder continued his baseball career in the Big State League for the Temple Eagles. From then on, he took on the role of coach. Baylor hired him as the head baseball coach in 1958, putting down the title in 1973. But he wasn’t retiring just yet. After coaching, Schroeder taught in the PE department at Baylor until 1999, where he then became a retired man.
“Dutch was an incredible coach and an even better person,” Baylor baseball head coach Steve Rodriguez said in a release. “He laid down the foundation for success for Baylor Baseball many years ago.”
However, after his retirement, his legacy certainly did not end. Schroeder continued to do many great things for Baylor. He continued to pour into his longtime growing vision of the “B” Association, which is “the official letterwinners organization of Baylor University.” It’s a membership-based organization still around today that is comprised of former athletes who, while at Baylor, earned an athletic letter award. A select group that continues to show their interest in supporting Baylor athletics.
The “B” Association has a 9,000-square-foot beautiful facility inside McLane Stadium known as the Letterwinners Lounge. Decorated to a T, the room is draped full of all things Baylor athletics. The first “B” Room was built in 1972, at Baylor’s football stadium when Grant Teaff was head coach.
“There would be no “B” Association today without his love, compassion, and sacrifices. We are forever indebted to him for his commitment to the vision of creating a permanent space on campus where Baylor letterwinners from all sports could reunite, fellowship, and gather together in support of Baylor Athletics,” said Walter Abercrombie, “B” Association’s Executive Director.
Before his passing, Schroeder always made it a point to acknowledge the death of every single letterwinner by sending a letter of condolence to the family. The message would always contain this quote by poet Thomas Campbell: “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”