The evolution of the Hillsdale College baseball team into a regional powerhouse has grown exponentially under the guidance of head coach Eric Theisen.
The leader of the Charger program since the 2014 season, Theisen has helped the Chargers continuously break previously unbroken barriers in both team and individual accomplishments, and there are no signs he or his team are slowing down.
He was named GLIAC Coach of the Year in 2016, leading Hillsdale to its first two postseason tournament wins and its first berth in the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament. Despite losing 12 players off that team, he led the program to 25 wins in 2017 and an unprecedented second-straight spot in the conference postseason tournament.
That success reached a new pinnacle in 2018, when in its first year in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, Hillsdale won the postseason tournament, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.
Theisen, now entering his sixth season leading the Hillsdale College baseball program, became the first Charger head man to win the GLIAC's top baseball coaching honor since 1987. He earned that honor thanks to Hillsdale setting a new single-season program record for wins with 32, while also qualifying for the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament for the very first time.
In 2016, two players he recruited as an assistant coach - Chris McDonald and Luke Ortel - were each named Division II All-Americans, and both signed pro baseball contracts. A third, Ethan Wiskur, signed with the Westside Woolly Mammoths following the 2017 season.
Theisen (pronounced ‘tyson’) said he is thrilled for the opportunity to be the program’s head coach, and is excited about continuing to push the team in an upward direction.
“Hillsdale College is a great place with great tradition. I’m honored and humbled to be named its next head baseball coach,” he said. “The men that I’ve had the opportunity to coach here are so inspiring; they are the heart and soul of this program and I look forward to continuing the constant and never-ending effort to improve with them.”
Baseball, by its nature, is a humbling sport. It is a challenge for anyone to excel at it, and Theisen is someone who relishes in the innate challenges and intricacies of the game.
A native of Adrian, Michigan, Theisen played college baseball at Division I Illinois State University from 2005-08. He set the school record for most appearances in a career and was named Second-Team All-Missouri Valley Conference.
Since his college graduation, he was in spring training with the Traverse City Beach Bums, an independent professional team. After independent ball, he traveled to Belgium to play for the Brussels Kangaroos. He then transitioned into coaching, where he spent time with the Battle Creek Bombers, and was the pitching coach at Siena Heights University from 2008-10.
Theisen becomes just the fifth head baseball coach at Hillsdale College in the past 30 years. He is a second-generation college head coach, joining his father Gordie who has coached college baseball in the state of Michigan for more than 25 years.