Former University of Cincinnati pitcher J.D. Heilmann returned to Cincinnati in 2010 and begins his fifth season of work as the Bearcats pitching coach and recruiting coordinator after a seven-year stint with Xavier University.
Heilmann, who is regarded as one of the top young pitching coaches in college baseball, is known for his ability to develop and relate to pitchers. Heilmann's skills were never more evident than when he overtook a Cincinnati pitching staff that posted a 6.73 ERA in 2009 and shrunk the group's ERA to 4.25 in 2010, which ranked third in the BIG EAST Conference and 26th nationally.
Under Heilmann's tutelage, five pitchers have been selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in the past three seasons - right-handers Zach Isler (2012), Christian McElroy (2012) and Dan Jensen (2011), and lefties Brian Garman (2010) and Kevin Johnson (2010).
Additionally, Heilmann mentored Andrew Strenge, who was named a 2010 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and a PingBaseball.com Third-Team Freshman All-American after breaking the BIG EAST single-season ERA record with a 0.62 ERA in conference-only contests.
Under the direction of Heilmann, third-team all-conference performer Andrew Burkett anchored the back end of Cincinnati's bullpen in 2010 and broke Cincinnati's single-season saves record with 14 after entering the campaign with one career save.
Prior to Cincinnati, Heilmann served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Xavier University and in 2009, he helped the Musketeers to a school record for wins en route to their first Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. From that squad, left-handed pitcher Danny Rosenbaum was drafted in 22nd round by the Washington Nationals and Jordan Conley signed as a free agent with the Florida Marlins.
A season earlier, Heilmann led an XU pitching staff that posted a league-best ERA of 3.39 in Atlantic-10 play, which included 2008 draft pick Charlie Leesman and free-agent signee Michael Lucas. Leesman was the second-highest draft pick in program history.
In his first two seasons at Xavier, Heilmann's primary on field duties were outfielders, base running, and bunting and he also assisted in local and regional recruiting. During those two years, he coached outfielder Jay Johnson, who was eventually a 13th-round draft pick by the Boston Red Sox.
Prior to coaching at Xavier, Heilmann briefly coached at Division II Northern Kentucky University and at local Division III power Mount St. Joseph. At both stops, Heilmann was in charge of the development of the pitching staff, as well as assisting in recruiting. While at Mount St. Joseph, Heilmann played a key role in the Lions' success, which included a Heartland Conference Championship in 2000 and a NCAA Regional runner-up finish in 2000.
In addition to his years on the collegiate level, Heilmann spent five summers as both an assistant and head coach in the nationally recognized Midland summer baseball organization. He helped guide his teams to success on the national level, evidenced by a fourth-place finish in 1999 and two second-place finishes in 1997 and 2002.
Heilmann played for the Bearcats in 1997 earned a communications degree while completing his eligibility at the University of Cincinnati following a transfer from Ball State.
A 1993 Moeller High School graduate, Heilmann helped the Crusaders capture a State Baseball Championship, while earning All-City and All-League honors.
Heilmann and his wife, Raegene, son, Dax, and daughter, Ryley, reside in Batavia.