Grace College has announced the hiring of Bill Barr as the Head Baseball Coach and Assistant Athletic Director.
Barr comes to Grace from Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, W.V., where he experienced tremendous success over the past two years as head baseball coach.
Overall, Barr’s résumé includes 22 years of experience coaching baseball, including 14 at the collegiate level, and seven years of experience as an athletic director.
“I am extremely excited about joining the Grace College coaching staff. The opportunity to mentor young men for Christ is at the core of my desire to join the Lancers,” Barr said. “I appreciate the support of Dr. Manahan, Dr. Katip and Coach Weathers for their decision to bring me on board. The chance to join such a great Christian college is both humbling and exciting.”
In Barr’s first season coaching Alderson-Broaddus in 2010, he directed the Battlers to one of their most successful seasons in program history.
Alderson-Broaddus, an NCAA Division II school, was expected to finish fourth in their division of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), but Barr guided the team to its first division title in school history and a 27-14 overall record.
Barr was named the WVIAC Coach of the Year as a result, and the Battlers were ranked in the top 10 of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association for the Atlantic Region during the season.
“Coach Barr has built great programs based on excellence through baseball fundamentals and building character in the young men on his teams,” Weathers said. “It is rare that you can add this type of individual to an already successful staff. We are really looking forward to his leadership both with the baseball program and for the athletic department as a whole.”
Prior to his work at Alderson-Broaddus, Barr coached the baseball team at Oklahoma Wesleyan University from 2005-09.
In the year before Barr arrived at Oklahoma Wesleyan, the team finished 4-51. In Barr’s final season at Oklahoma Wesleyan, the team broke the school record for wins with a 29-26 season. Barr also nearly doubled the baseball roster during his tenure.
“I understand the challenges the baseball program is currently facing in the MCC, but I am confident that Grace will be able to compete favorably within the upper tier of the conference,” Barr continued. “Josh Bailey has laid a superb foundation for this team, and I am excited to be a part of the continued development of this program.”
Barr, who is nearing 300 career wins as a head coach at the collegiate level, had a successful stint at Indiana Wesleyan University. Overall, Barr took the Wildcats to four consecutive appearances in the NCCAA National Tournament and set the school record for wins when the team finished 32-21 in 1994.
While at Indiana Wesleyan, his teams averaged 22 wins per season, and he was awarded as an NAIA District Coach of the Year twice and an NCCAA Regional Coach of the Year twice.
Barr graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education in 1983 then went on to obtain a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Ashland University in 1992.
Barr is married to Jacki, and the couple has two daughters named Bethany and Brittany.
Paul Gonzales is set to join Grace’s coaching staff for his first season with the Lancers.
Gonzales is the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for Grace’s baseball team. He graduated from Alderson-Broaddus College in 2012 after a strong player career under current Grace head coach Bill Barr.
Gonzales led Alderson-Broaddus’s pitching staff with 14 starts in 16 pitching appearances, helping the team to a 23-10 record in conference play.
Prior to playing at Alderson-Broaddus, Gonzales played at NAIA school Oklahoma Wesleyan from 2007-09. While there, he earned First Team NCCAA All-Region and honorable mention All-Conference honors in 2008.
Gonzales is originally from Dallas, Texas, but currently resides in Winona Lake, Ind., with his wife (Abby) and two daughters (Makalya, Sarah).
Bryan Hickerson lends his support to Grace’s baseball team for his first season with the Lancers. Hickerson is a former Major League Baseball player.
Hickerson was drafted in the ninth round of the MLB Draft during his junior year of college by the St. Louis Cardinals, but he did not sign.
His senior year, he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the seventh round in 1986 after completing a Bachelor’s degree and after playing for four seasons at the University of Minnesota.
The following spring, Hickerson was traded to the San Francisco Giants, with whom he spent the next eight seasons.
His Major League debut was in 1991, and he remained with the Giants as both a reliever and starting pitcher through the 1994 season. He signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1995 and was traded to the Colorado Rockies halfway through the season.
In 1996 he retired from professional baseball player. He went on to serve as a pitching coach during the 1997 and 1998 seasons with the Giants organization while also working part-time with Unlimited Potential, Inc., (UPI) during the offseason.
He became a full-time staff member with UPI from 1998-2012 where he served as Director of Outreach to the U.S. military while also overseeing ministry operations.
He is currently a full-time worker with Intercession Haiti.
Hickerson and his wife Jo reside in Warsaw, Ind. They have four children: Emily, Joey, Claire and Tommy.
Fresh off a strong career in a Lancer uniform, Brent Easterday is set to join Grace’s coaching ranks for his first season.
Easterday will work primarily with the infielders and hitters. He graduated from Grace in 2012 with a B.S. in Sport Management and Business Administration.
During his playing days, Easterday was a regular contributor on Grace’s baseball team. During his senior campaign in 2012, the first baseman finished with 223 putouts – ranking in the top 10 all-time for Grace.
Easterday was third on Grace’s team with 22 RBIs as a sophomore when the Lancers tied the program record with 21 victories during the 2010 campaign.
Easterday also has strong experience in the business aspects of professional baseball when he worked with Class A Fort Wayne TinCaps. He was involved in group sales with the TinCaps and also helped manage the Midwest League All-Star Game and various concerts at Parkview Field.
Seth Elliott begins his first season as a student assistant coach with Grace’s baseball team.
Elliott will serve as the team’s catchers’ coach this year after pitching for the Lancers in 2012.
Elliott graduated high school in 2008 from Bethesda Christian (Brownsburg, Ind.) where he played baseball under former Major League pitcher Bill Sampen.
During Elliott’s senior season, Bethesda advanced through the postseason to semi-states with a 10-man roster, losing to the eventual state champions.
Prior to attending Grace, Elliot gave private lessons in hitting, fielding and pitching to younger players in his hometown.
Elliott, who is originally from Danville, Ind., now resides in Warsaw. He is currently majoring in sport management with a minor in history.