Eric Theisen led the Charger baseball team to new heights in 2018, as the Chargers won their first Championship in baseball since 1960 by becoming the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) Champions. Previously he led Hillsdale to its first appearance in an NCAA Baseball Regional in 2016 and as a result, was named GLIAC Coach of the Year.
Theisen, now entering his eighth 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. Since that time, the Chargers have added to their NCAA DII All-American list, with Ethan Wiskur (2017) and Steven Ring (2017 and 2019) being named All-American. In addition, shortstop Jake Hoover became the first Charger selected in the MLB draft in two decades, being selected by the Texas Rangers and signing with them in 2019.
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.
Under Eric’s direction, the Chargers recently set single-season team home run records in the GLIAC (68 home runs in 2016) and the GMAC (78 home runs in 2019), thus holding that record in two different conferences.
“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 30 years. He is Driveline Baseball Hitting Certified.
Gordie Theisen is the "father" portion of the father-son combination guiding the Hillsdale College baseball program. Together, Gordie and his son Eric, led the Charger baseball team to new heights in 2016.
Together, they led the team to its first-ever victories in the GLIAC Tournament and its debut in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament. Gordie Theisen enters his eighth season as the program's pitching coach in 2020-21.
Gordie has recently earned Driveline Baseball’s Pitching Certification, as well as Driveline’s Pitch Design Certification.
“It’s exciting, we have always talked about how cool it would be to some day have the opportunity to coach together,” Eric Theisen said. “We’re fortunate to not only have the opportunity, but have it come so soon.
“On top of having similar philosophies of pitching and running a ball club, he brings some valuable experience to our staff. Most importantly, his expectations match the increasing expectations of this program. There is no one I trust more to take the reins of this talented pitching staff.”
Gordie enjoyed a successful tenure with the Bulldogs, where he helped lead the program to the NCAA Division III national playoffs on multiple occasions. He coached three straight MIAA Pitchers of the Year, from 2010-12, and Adrian had a staff earned run average of 2.56 in 2011, which ranked second in all of NCAA Division III.
Prior to his stint at Adrian, Gordie was the head baseball coach at Siena Heights University from 1987-2003, racking up 341 career victories. During his head coaching career, Gordie produced three players who were drafted by Major League Baseball clubs, and three more who signed professional baseball contracts.
“Everything I know about pitching, I learned from my dad,” Eric says. “I grew up in a dugout. To have this opportunity to coach with him is a thrill for me.”
Evan Berliner is beginning his second season on the Hillsdale College Baseball coaching staff. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Evan played infield at Elmhurst College (IL) and spent two years as a Graduate Assistant Coach at Ottawa University in Surprise, Arizona, working with the outfielders and hitters. At Hillsdale, Coach Berliner works with the hitters and with all defensive position players, in addition to leading the staff’s work in analytics.
Berliner played his college baseball at Elmhurst College in Illinois, where he was an infielder. In his senior season of 2017, he received the Coach's Award, emblematic of the player who best represents the team both on and off the field. He received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Elmhurst in 2017, and in May 2019, earned his MBA in leadership from Ottawa University. He is Driveline Baseball Hitting Certified.