LSU Eunice’s Jeff Willis named to 2024 ABCA Hall of Fame class
EUNICE, La. – LSU Eunice Baseball Head Coach Jeff Willis has been announced as a member of the 2024 class of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame, the organization released on Wednesday. Willis will be honored at the ABCA Hall of Fame Banquet on January 5 in Dallas, Texas during the 80th ABCA Convention.
The longtime LSUE head coach is part of a star-studded 10-member class including legendary head coaches Jim Morris (Miami (FL)) and Jim Wells (Alabama) as well as current University of Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor as well as Georgia Tech’s skipper Danny Hall. Cal Bailey (West Virginia State), Pat McQuaid (Nova HS (FL)), Tim Pettorini (The College of Wooster), John Vodenlich (Wisconsin-Whitewater) and Wayne Wleton (Chelsea HS (MI)). The ABCA Hall of Fame was founded in 1966 and has more than 300 inductees into the exclusive group.
This is the second Hall of Fame that Willis will be recently inducted into. The Bengals’ head coach was enshrined into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame this past May in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“To say this is an honor is an understatement,” LSU Eunice Baseball Head Coach Jeff Willis. “To again be recognized by your profession is humbling, but it is a testament to the hard work and dedication our entire institution has put in to make LSU Eunice Baseball successful on the field and in the classroom.”
“This is the definition of a team award,” Willis added.
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 995-218 (.820) in the 21 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.
Willis becomes the first junior college head coach in Louisiana to be named to the ABCA Hall of Fame and just the eighth head coach among all affiliations from the Bayou State. He joins Ron Maestri (New Orleans, 1991), Skip Bertman (LSU, 2003), Wilbert Ellis (Grambling State, 2007), Paul Mainieri (LSU, 2014), Rick Jones (Tulane, 2017), Roger Cador (Southern, 2021) and Tony Robichaux (Louisiana, 2021).
He will also become just the 24th person in junior college baseball to join this illustrious collection.
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