IOWA CITY — University of Iowa head baseball coach Rick Heller received a contract extension through 2024, athletics director Gary Barta announced Thursday.
“The progress this program has made in four seasons under Rick has been incredible,” Barta said in a news release. “Rick has changed the culture from day one with the win, graduate, and do it right principles at the forefront. We’re excited to be able to reward Rick with this contract extension to keep him in Iowa City for the foreseeable future.
“You can feel the excitement and buzz surrounding the program throughout the state. We are excited to continue building on that and are looking forward to the 2018 baseball season.”
Heller has injected life into the Hawkeyes since taking over the program in 2013. He has led Iowa to its best four-year stretch in program history, winning 140 games, advancing to two NCAA Regionals and claiming the first Big Ten tournament title in program history.
“I am humbled that Gary and Bruce (Harreld, UI president) have given me the opportunity to be a Hawkeye for a long time,” he said. “It’s a privilege to go to work each day with such an amazing group of coaches, staff, and student-athletes.”
Under Heller’s watch, Iowa has advanced to the postseason in four consecutive years for the first time in program history. He has coached five All-Americans, a unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year and at least one first-team all-Big Ten selection each season. Iowa has had 15 Major League Baseball Draft picks in four seasons — also the most in a four-year stretch all-time.
Heller has also given the Hawkeyes an international flavor, taking the team to the Dominican Republic in 2016 and Taipei, Taiwan, as the United States representative at the 2017 World University Games. Heller led USA to a silver medal, the first American squad to medal in Universiade history.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
The Eldon, Iowa, native became the 20th head coach in program history in 2013 — his fourth stop as a collegiate head coach. He has enjoyed stints at Iowa (2014-present), Indiana State (2009-13), Northern Iowa (1999-2009) and Upper Iowa (1987-99), leading all four schools to NCAA postseason play. He is one of nine coaches all-time and one of five active coaches to lead three different Division I programs to NCAA Regional play.
In 30 seasons as a head coach, Heller owns a career record of 830-654-4.
The Hawkeyes open the 2018 season Feb. 16, facing Toledo in Diamond 9 Sunshine State Classic Series in Kissimmee, Fla.