College Baseball: Mark Hernandez named coach at Prairie State
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media July 22, 2014 3:56PM
Updated: August 24, 2014 6:35AM
Mark Hernandez has filled out the lineup cards. He has stood in the third-base coaching box.
He even has some head coaching experience under his belt.
Now, however, Hernandez believes he has found the right place to leave his mark long term as a head coach.
Hernandez was named Prairie State’s baseball coach Monday.
“With the overall pool of talent in district for Prairie State, this is a great career fit,” Hernandez said. “I hope to provide an ideal student-athlete experience for the team.”
Hernandez was a longtime assistant at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove. He also was head coach at Harper College in the 2007 season before returning to Waubonsee.
Longtime Waubonsee coach Dave Randall retired at the end of the spring season, having coached the Chiefs since 1978. The Chiefs went to the NJCAA World Series four times during Hernandez’s tenure, including a fourth-place finish in 2014.
Hernandez also helped coach Waubonsee’s junior varsity team during the fall and spring seasons. Given the chance to take the step up, Hernandez couldn’t pass it up.
“It is a tremendous opportunity to continue moving forward as a head coach,” Hernandez said. “I’m comfortable there, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to control the entire program and do things in my style.”
Prairie State finished the season with a 28-18 record, winning the program’s second straight regional title.
Hernandez said Prairie State will host a showcase day Aug. 3 to help him and his staff fill out a roster. The Pioneers will welcome unsigned high school players who just finished their senior seasons, members of the high school Class of 2015, and uncommitted college players and transfers.
He hopes to hit the ground running, assembling a team with his baseball vision.
“I want to play aggressive, rely on speed, throwing velocity, defense and pitching,” Hernandez said. “I want to find talented student-athletes who can help achieve our goals, conference championships, and hopefully, a national championship.”