Iowa won 30 games in Heller's 1st season in 2014
13-player recruiting class is ranked No. 1 in B1G, No. 40 nationally by Perfect Game
Hawkeyes notch 10th win with 13-1 triumph over Georgetown
3 prep student-athletes, 2 junior college players sign on to be Hawkeyes
Hawkeyes to play 16 games against 2013 NCAA Tournament teams this season
The Hawkeyes fall to Michigan 7-1 at the Big Ten Tournament
The Iowa Hawkeyes face the Illinois Fighting Illini on Senior Day
Illinois 5, Iowa 1 Saturday, May 10, 2014
Iowa defeats South Dakota State 2-1 in extra innings
The Hawkeyes defeat Minnesota 7-6 to take the three game series
Rick Heller is entering his second season as head coach of the University of Iowa baseball program. Heller was tabbed as the 20th head coach program history July 12, 2013, after serving as head coach at Indiana State from 2010-13.
Heller, a native of Eldon, Iowa, has been head coach at four institutions -- Iowa (2014-present), Indiana State (2009-13), Northern Iowa (1999-2009), and Upper Iowa (1987-99) -- leading his first three schools to NCAA postseason play. He led Indiana State to its first outright Missouri Valley Conference title in 2012. He led Northern Iowa to the 2001 MVC title and into the NCAA Tournament, the first regional appearance for the Panthers since becoming a Division I program in 1981. In 27 seasons as a head coach, Heller holds a career mark of 720-588-4.
In his first season in Iowa City, Heller helped guide the Hawkeyes to a 9-1 start -- the program's best start since 1940 -- a Big Ten Tournament berth and conference tournament win. Iowa finished the year with a 30-23 record for just the third 30-win season since 1993. The 30 victories are the most by a first-year coach in Iowa history.
Heller won his 700th career game in a 13-1 rout of Georgetown on March 15 at the Snowbird Classic in Florida. The Hawkeyes also took 2-of-3 games from Nebraska to open the Big Ten regular season -- Iowa's first conference-opening series win since 1998 and took 2-of-3 games against Minnesota for the first time since 2005.
Under Heller's direction, Iowa became one of the most potent offensive teams in the Big Ten in 2014. The Hawkeyes led the conference in four offensive categories (batting average, hits, runs and on-base percentage) and ranked second in four more (slugging percentage, RBIs, home runs and total bases). Iowa finished with 23 home runs -- a season after the team had two long balls in 49 contests.
Heller coached five student-athletes to All-Big Ten recognition, the most for the program since 2007. Junior shortstop Jake Yacinich garnered first-team All-Big Ten honors after ranking second in the league in batting average and steals. He was the first Iowa first-teamer since 2009.
Heller came to the UI after a strong four-year run at Indiana State. He led the Sycamores to their first outright Missouri Valley Conference championship in school history and back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995 during the record-setting 2012 season. Indiana State finished 41-19, including a 14-7 record in conference play to claim the regular season crown and earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. The 41 wins were the most for the program since 1991.
Heller was named the 2012 Dan Callahan MVC Coach of the Year, while junior Jeremy Lucas earned the Joe Carter MVC Player of the Year award -- the first student-athlete in ISU history to earn the league's MVP -- and junior Dakota Bacus was selected as the MVC Newcomer of the Year. Eight members of the team were named All-MVC. Following the season, two Sycamores were drafted in the top-12 rounds and a total of three signed contracts to begin their professional careers.
Heller led Indiana State to its fifth-consecutive winning season in 2013, and to a semifinal appearance in the MVC Tournament. The Sycamores, who finished 26-25 overall, had four players earn All-MVC honors, including Sean Manaea, the 34th overall selection in the 2013 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals. The draft selection was the second-highest in ISU baseball program history. Manaea became the 16th Sycamore to either be drafted or sign a professional free agent contract since Heller became head coach in 2009.
Heller led Indiana State to a 35-19 record in his first season in Terre Haute, Ind. -- the most wins for any first-year coach in ISU baseball history -- and a third place MVC finish. The Sycamores were one of two MVC teams to receive votes in the national polls during the season. In 2011, Indiana State went 29-28 and advanced to the semifinals of the MVC Tournament -- its deepest run since 2002.
During his tenure at Northern Iowa, Heller's teams won 270 games, including the 2001 Missouri Valley Conference championship and NCAA Regional Berth. While building the Panthers into an annual contender, Heller coached three MVC Most Valuable Players, one MVC Pitcher of the Year and helped put 22 players in professional baseball.
While at UNI, Heller's teams broke a total of 57 team or individual records, including setting team records for hits, runs batted in, doubles and extra base hits during the 2001 season. Heller led the Panthers to four MVC tournaments, winning the championship in 2001. All-American Ryan Brunner claimed the league MVP award and All-American Nic Ungs was named Pitcher of the Year.
The Panthers recorded back-to-back 30-plus win seasons in 2001 and 2002 for the first time in school history and set the school single-season record with 35 wins in 2001. Heller also coached two Academic All-Americans in Brunner and Travis Welsch. Before taking over the Northern Iowa program prior to the 2000 season, Heller spent 12 years as a head coach at Upper Iowa University, a Division III institution. While at Upper Iowa, Heller recorded a 291-194-3 overall record and was named the Iowa Conference Coach of the Year four times.
Heller won his first conference championship in 1993 -- the first for Upper Iowa in 20 years -- while advancing to the NCAA Division III Regionals. His team won the Iowa Conference title and advanced to NCAA Regionals again in 1995, finishing 19th in the national rankings as Heller won his third Coach of the Year honor.
He repeated Coach of the Year honors again in 1996 when the Peacocks won the Iowa Conference and Central Regional to advance to the NCAA Division III College World Series. His team finished the year ranked sixth nationally and he was named NCAA Division III Central Region Coach of the Year.
In 1997, his team was ranked seventh nationally in the pre-season poll and won the Iowa Conference Tournament. In 1998, his team was ranked as high as 10th nationally while finishing with a 38-8 record to set a school record for winning percentage (.826). His final UIU team finished 30-15-1 and finished third in the Iowa Conference while setting five school records.
As a player at Upper Iowa from 1982-86, he was a four-year starter at shortstop and he also lettered in football and basketball. He is a member of the Upper Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame.
Heller is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and serves on the ABCA All-American Committee. He is also a member of the Indiana and Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Associations. In 2008, he was inducted into the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Heller has three daughters -- Tara, Alyssa, and Vivienne. His wife's name is Rachelle.