LUBBOCK, TX – The College Baseball Foundation is proud to announce LSU Eunice coach Jeff Willis as the 2018 Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year.
In 2018, Willis led the Bengals to their sixth national championship. They finished the season with a 59-6 record, the most wins in school history.
"Jeff's ballclub once again established their place among the nation's elite programs," said Mike Gustafson, president and CEO of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame and chair of the Bertman Award committee. "We're honored to present this award to him."
The award finalists and winner were selected by a national committee of active and retired coaches from all levels of college baseball. The Bertman Award recognizes coaches at every level of college baseball. Kevin O'Sullivan, head coach of the national champion Florida Gators, won the award in 2017.
Among the finalists for the 2018 award were six national champions including Pat Casey from Oregon State, who led the Beavers to a 56-6 record and the No. 1 ranking for most of the season. The other finalists are:
- Bill Fratto, Oakton Community College (44-17), NJCAA Division III Champion
- Jeff Johnson, Chipola College (49-17), NJCAA Division I Champion
- Adrian Dinkel, Southeastern University (59-7), NAIA Champion
- Brent Porche, Texas-Tyler (40-18), NCAA Division III Champion
- Tim Huber, Augustana University (52-9), NCAA Division II Champion
- Pat Casey, Oregon State (55-12-1), NCAA Division I Champion
The award is named for legendary LSU head coach and National College Baseball Hall of Famer Skip Bertman, who coached the Tigers from 1984 to 2001. In his time at LSU, Bertman won five national championships and was named National Coach of the Year six times. He coached 31 players who went on to play Major League Baseball and was part of the Hall of Fame's inaugural class in 2006.
The 2018 Bengals entered the NJCAA Division II World Series as the top seed and rolled through the field undefeated. It marked the ninth 50-win season since Willis became coach prior to the 2004 season and the ninth appearance in the World Series.
During his tenure in Eunice, Willis has seen 177 of his players move on to four-year universities. He has also had the opportunity to coach and/or sign 57 players who have been drafted by Major League Baseball organizations.
SKIP BERTMAN NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR – PAST WINNERS
2013: Mike Dickson, Gloucester County (N.J.) College
2014: Tim Tadlock, Texas Tech
2015: Paul Mainieri, LSU
2016: Tim Scannell, Trinity (Texas) University
2017: Kevin O'Sullivan, Florida