Nate Metzger is in his eighth season as the head baseball coach at Heartland Community College; during his tenure he has taken the Hawks to remarkable heights.
In seven seasons leading the Hawks baseball program, Metzger has complied an impressive 325-78 (.806) record, including a 176-37 (.826) record in Mid-West Athletic Conference play, and a 153-25 (.859) mark at home. Under Metzger’s direction, the Hawks have advanced to the NJCAA Division-II World Series three times, including a third place finish in 2012 and a fourth place finish in 2013, and have been nationally ranked by the NJCAA every season, while holding a #1 national ranking in 2011 and 2012. Metzger’s teams have also captured five straight M-WAC regular season championships and have won 40 plus games for six straight seasons. Additionally, in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, Metzger was named both the Region 24 and M-WAC Coach of the Year.
Metzger has also experienced great success at getting players through his program and onto the next level of their baseball careers. Of the 107 players who have moved through the Heartland baseball program, all 107 have gone on to attend a four-year school and complete four-year degrees, and 94 of those players have moved on to play baseball at four-year programs. Of those 94 student-athletes, 67 have gone on to Division-I programs with 13 continuing to play baseball professionally.
Metzger has coached 10 NJCAA All-Americans, four First Team All-Americans, 22 All-Region 24 players, 48 all-conference players, 22 academic all-conference selections, 10 Academic All-Americans, three straight Region 24 Tournament Most Valuable Players (2011, 2012, and 2013), and seven Rawlings Gold Glove award winners, including 2010 All-American Gold Glove winner Bryan Huff.
Metzger’s players have also accumulated numerous Player of the Year accolades. Metzger has mentored three straight Region 24 Players of the Year (2009, 2010, and 2011), four straight M-WAC Pitchers of the Year (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013), three M-WAC Freshman of the Year (2010, 2011, and 2014), and two straight M-WAC Players of the Year (2010 and 2011). Additionally, Metzger’s players have left a huge imprint in the conference as they swept the M-WAC Player, Pitcher, and Freshman of the Year awards twice, in 2010 and 2011.
In 2014, Metzger led the Hawks to a 43-13 record, a fifth consecutive M-WAC championship, and their sixth straight season with over 40 victories. Metzger coached infielder Nolan Lodden who was named a First Team All-American, and the squad also featured fellow All-Region selections Pat Cashman and Derek Bangert, who was also honored as the M-WAC Co-Freshman of the Year.
In 2013, Metzger’s squad made their second straight top-four finish at the NJCAA D-II World Series and ended with an overall record of 50-11 to mark their third straight season with over 50 wins. Metzger also earned both the Region 24 and M-WAC coach of the year honors for the fourth straight time. During the 2013 campaign, Metzger coached Heartland’s second ever selection to the All-American Second Team Johnny Lieske.
In 2012, Metzger coached the Hawks to a 54-8 record, Metzger’s highest winning percentage in his first seven seasons at .870, and an M-WAC championship for the third-straight year. The Hawks went on to win the Region 24 tournament and qualify for the program’s second NJCAA D-II World Series appearance where they finished third, marking the Hawks’ highest finish at the World Series. Two more program firsts occurred in 2012 as Dylan Johnson became the first Hawk to be awarded back-to-back All-American First Team recognitions and was the Region 24 tournament MVP.
The 2011 season marked the beginning of the Hawks run at the NCJAA D-II World Series as they finished sixth after compiling a 54-11 record, Metzger’s highest conference winning percentage at .906 (29-3), his highest home winning percentage at .967 (30-1), and won the Region 24 tournament for the first time, with Aaron Hauge becoming the Hawk’s first Region 24 Tournament MVP. Heartland also captured back-to-back conference championships during the season, and earned its first number one national ranking. The 2011 season featured two Hawks players, Chris Razo and Dylan Johnson, winning Region 24 Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards respectively for the second straight year. Johnson and Zac Zellers became the second and third Hawks to be named to the All-American First Team.
The Hawks’ string of M-WAC regular season championships began in 2010 as Metzger led them to a 26-4 record in conference play, a 45-11 overall mark, and a second straight second place finish in the Region 24 tournament. Metzger’s Hawks also continued to show improvement in the national spotlight as they reached a 2nd place national ranking for the first time in the program’s three year history. For his efforts, Metzger was awarded the Coach of the Year award in both Region 24 and the M-WAC for the first time. Also for the first time, Heartland had a First Team All-American in Eric Aguilera, who was selected as the Hawks’ second straight Region 24 Player of the Year and first M-WAC Player of the Year selection.
The Hawks’ streak of six straight 40 plus victory seasons began in 2009 as they finished 42-9. The Hawks finished one win shy from earning their first trip to the NJCAA D-II World Series and they were second in the Region 24 tournament and had an end-of-season national ranking of 17th in the NJCAA D-II poll for the second straight season. At one point during the season, Metzger’s team climbed to a fourth place national ranking, their highest in his first two seasons as the head coach of the Hawks. The season also featured the Hawks’ first ever All-American and Region 24 Player of the Year honorees as Cody Gilles was named to the All-American Second Team and was the Region 24 Player of the Year, while Ryan Juris took home All-American third team honors.
In 2008, Metzger’s inaugural season saw the Hawks go 37-15 with a third place finish in their first Region 24 tournament appearance and an end-of-season nation ranking of 17 in the country. Michael Stalter and Ryan Juris became the first Hawks selected to the All-Region 24 Team and M-WAC First Team respectively, and were joined by Jimmy Suits and Cody Gilles on the M-WAC Second Team.
Prior to his time with Heartland athletics, Metzger held numerous coaching positions which add to his impressive resume. During the summers of 1999 and 2000, Metzger managed elite level college players with the Twin City Stars of the Central Illinois Collegiate League, and in the summer of 2001, Metzger was selected to serve as the pitching coach for the McDonalds/Mitsubishi Comets 13-14 year old select team which traveled to Cuba. From 2002-2004 Metzger served as the general manager and head coach of the Twin City Scrappers, a summer collegiate team which won the NABF World Series in 2004. Metzger returned to the Central Illinois Collegiate League in 2005 with the Scrappers, leading the team to a second-place finish in their inaugural season. In four seasons the Scrappers accumulated a 139-68 (.671) record.
Metzger served as the Head Assistant Baseball Coach at Normal West High School for eight seasons where the Wildcats compiled a 206-86 (.705) record. In 2002, Metzger received the AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year Award, chosen from over 300,000 nominees.
From 1999-2006 Nate was co-owner and head instructor of The Practice Factory, Bloomington-Normal’s only indoor baseball/softball instructional facility. At The Practice Factory Nate provided personal lessons to 70 players who advanced to the college level. Metzger continues to travel nationwide to attend and/or speak at various coaching clinics in addition to his scouting duties for the Atlanta Braves.
Metzger graduated from NAIA Greenville College (IL) where he served as captain of the baseball team and earned All-District honors as a catcher. In his four-year career at GC the team compiled an 87-67 record.
Nate, his wife Sarah, and their daughters Shelby Maddux and Morgan Aaron reside in Normal, Illinois.
|2008||37-15 (.711)||21-8 (.724)||16-6 (.727)|
|2009||42-9 (.823)||22-6 (.785)||17-4 (.809)|
|2010||45-11 (.803)||26-4 (.866)||15-3 (..833)|
|2011||54-11 (.830)||29-3 (.906)||30-1 (.967)|
|2012||54-8 (.870)||27-5 (.843)||28-4 (.875)|
|2013||50-11 (.819)||27-3 (.900)||23-4 (.851)|
|2014||43-13 (.767)||24-8 (.750)||24-3 (.888)|
|TOTAL||325-78 (.806)||176-37 (.826)||153-25 (.859)|
Phone: (309) 268-8418 (Office)
Email: Nate Metzger