July 23, 2009
CINCINNATI - Following seven years as an assistant coach at Xavier University, former University of Cincinnati pitcher J.D. Heilmann is coming back to UC as the Bearcats pitching coach, head coach Brian Cleary announced today.
"J.D. will be a tremendous addition to our staff. First, I am excited for our pitchers as he will be of great help to them and their development," said Cleary. "J.D. has proven himself as a recruiter and along with Brad Meador gives us a great team in recruiting. Lastly, his enthusiasm for UC and UC Baseball and his energy will be noticed by our players and the fans of the program. I am excited to welcome him back."
Heilmann was an integral part of the Musketeers success in 2009 as Xavier won its first Atlantic 10 Tournament title and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. In 2008, Heilmann coached a 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. From 2006-08, Heilmann worked with the pitchers and was the team's recruiting coordinator.
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.