EUGENE, Ore. — Bushnell University announces the relaunch of Baseball for the first time in over 50 years as the 17th varsity sport offering. Former Whitman College assistant Tommy Richards has been named the first Head Coach for the program.
“We are excited to have baseball back as an intercollegiate sport on campus after a 50 plus year hiatus,” said Joseph D. Womack, Ed.D., Bushnell University’s president. “Bushnell Baseball complements the educational and co-curricular activities at a Christ-centered University like ours because each practice and each inning provides the student-athlete with an opportunity to gain in wisdom, faith and service.”
“We are thrilled to bring good news to our conference and community,” said Corey Anderson, Bushnell’s athletic director. “Baseball provides more opportunities for high school baseball players and transfers to receive a liberal arts education while continuing to play baseball at the collegiate level.”
Richards spent four seasons at NCAA DIII Whitman College (Walla Walla, Washington) where he led the offense and infield units, coordinated student-athlete recruiting, and developed and administered the strength and conditioning program. During Richard’s tenure at Whitman, win totals improved every year, culminating in a 29-win season in 2019.
In addition, Richards was a four-year letterman at Washington State University from 2009-2012. He was drafted in the 24th round of the professional baseball draft by the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. After three seasons in professional baseball, including a season in the Australian Baseball League, he began his coaching career at Lindenwood – Belleville, an NAIA school in Illinois.
“Tommy brings a lifetime of baseball experience and positive energy to the diamond as the first head coach for Bushnell Baseball,” said Anderson. “Coach Richards is well prepared and ready to go to accept his first collegiate head coaching position. Tommy brings to us an enthusiastic excitement focused on leadership, hard work and determination combined with his personal faith and hunger to build a collegiate level baseball program that fits our Tri-Athlete model with a foundation based on character, competition and academic success.”
“Bushnell is a great fit for me and I believe in the Bushnell tri-athlete model,” said Richards. “My faith is a big part of my identity and the chance to recruit and coach individuals at this University is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“Alignment is such a big deal in this industry and the vision being cast from the top down is borderline surreal,” said Richards. “My interactions with Dr. Womack, Vice President Michael Fuller, and Athletic Director Corey Anderson have been awesome. I will give them and our athletes everything that I have.”
Bushnell will begin play in Spring 2022, joining six other Cascade Collegiate Conference schools that play baseball, including: Lewis-Clark State College, College of Idaho, Oregon Tech, Corban University, University of British Columbia, and Eastern Oregon University.
“On behalf of the CCC we congratulate Bushnell on the addition of baseball to their sport offerings and to the league,” said Commissioner Robert Cashell, a Butte native. “Not only does the program immensely strengthen baseball for the conference, it represents the continued growth and evolution of Beacon athletics.”
The athletic department anticipates recruiting 35 new student-athletes for the 2022 baseball team. Current high school and junior college athletes interested in joining Bushnell Baseball are encouraged to complete the player interest form, located at http://www.BushnellBeacons.com/baseball. Coach Richards can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While negotiations are currently underway regarding a field location for Beacon Baseball, the program is aligned with a larger baseball community initiative that will be announced soon, that includes 108 Academy, a new baseball-training program led by local baseball coach Kenny Niles.
Bushnell will make an announcement in the coming weeks about where the Beacons will practice and play games.
— Cascade Collegiate College