There have been several superlatives and awards that dot LSU Eunice Baseball Head Coach Jeff Willis’s resume. You can now add Hall of Famer to that list.
The longtime LSUE skipper has been named to the 2023 Class of the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, it was announced earlier this month. Willis will be formally inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame at the NJCAA Division I World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado this May.
The vote was conducted and announced at the recent American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I am truly humbled by this honor, but this recognition is really for the baseball program and the entire LSU Eunice family,” LSU Eunice Baseball Head Coach Jeff Willis said. “None of this would not have been possible without the countless number of student-athletes, assistant coaches, their spouses and all of our LSU Eunice staff and faculty that helped produce the success we have enjoyed both on and off the field.”
At the age of 24 years old, Willis took over LSU Eunice and has since turned it into one of the preeminent junior college baseball programs in the nation. The Bengals have won seven NJCAA Division II National Championships under his watch – the third most for a head coach in all of college baseball all-time across all divisions.
LSUE has gone 942-213 (.815) in the 20 seasons under Jeff Willis, which is the second highest winning percentage in the history of college baseball over all division by a coach, active or retired.
The Bengals have made ten NJCAA World Series appearances, captured 11 Regional Championships and won ten District Championships. The seven NJCAA National Championships are also tied for the most in the sport in NJCAA history from one school.
The JUCO Baseball Blog (The JBB) named LSU Eunice the “Team of the Decade” for 2010-2019, encompassing all junior college programs.
After guiding his Bengals to their sixth National Championship in 2018, Willis was awarded the Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year award by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. The honor, given to the nation’s top coach regardless of association or classification, has also been awarded to LSU’s Paul Mainieri and Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan.
“We are so proud of Coach Willis for his team’s success and the notoriety they have brought to LSU Eunice,” LSU Eunice Chancellor Dr. Nancee Sorenson said. “This award could not go to a more deserving individual for not only his accomplishments on the field, but for the type of student-athletes he produces that become leaders in our community.”
“Coach Willis has proven himself over and over to be not only an outstanding coach, but leader and mentor.” NJCAA President Dr. Christopher Parker said. “I want to wish a huge congratulations to Coach Willis on this significant achievement.”
The NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame began in 1982 and currently has 132 members enshrined. Willis will become one of the youngest and fastest coaches in its history to receive the recognition.
Joining Willis in the Class of 2023 will be Frederick Community College’s Rodney Bennett, Mesa Community College’s Tony Cirelli and special contributor John “Tex” Tolman.