With the coaching retirement of Greg Burnett as head baseball coach at Texas Lutheran University, Associate Head Coach Rick Heines has been named the new head baseball coach for the Bulldogs.

Heines, 35, is the ninth head baseball coach in TLU Baseball history.

“I have every confidence that Coach Heines will continue the great winning tradition of TLU Baseball,” said Bill Miller, TLU’s director of athletics. “Coach Heines has played a pivotal role in our success over the past eight years. Not only has he served as our associate head coach and pitching coach, but in his capacity as recruiting coordinator, he has been the driving force in our recruitment of quality student-athletes and baseball players. We would not have played for a national championship and had the many other special moments of the past years if not for Rick’s hard work and dedication to Bulldog Baseball.

“Rick and Coach Greg Burnett have repeatedly put the Bulldogs in position to play for conference and NCAA Championships. I know that even with Coach Burnett’s coaching retirement the future of our baseball program is in great hands. We can’t wait to see Coach Heines and the Bulldogs back in action in 2021.”

Burnett announced his coaching retirement at Texas Lutheran University after 13 years as head baseball coach and 22 total years with TLU Baseball.

Burnett will move into the campus recreation director role at TLU. He will oversee the campus recreation program, the university’s Dr. Burton E. Grossman Fitness Center, TLU’s intramural program, and the Mabee Aquatics Center. Debbie Roberts retired as campus recreation director on Monday. Roberts served in the position for 18 years.

Entering his ninth year at TLU, Heines has been promoted to head coach from his prior roles as associate head coach, pitching coach, and recruiting coordinator. He was hired by Burnett as an assistant coach for baseball in July of 2012. Previously, he was promoted to associate head coach in March of 2018. He has worked as the TLU Baseball pitching coach and recruiting coordinator since joining the university in the summer of 2012.

“I want to thank the TLU Administration, along with President Cottrell and AD Bill Miller, for giving me the opportunity to lead TLU Baseball,” Heines said. “I especially want to thank Greg Burnett for eight years of outstanding mentorship. I am excited to build on to the tremendous success of the last eight years, along with honoring the great teams and players throughout the history of the program.

“We will continue to emphasize the foundational virtues of dedication, accountability and toughness while preserving the fantastic academic success we have seen. In the end, any good program is about the players, and they are our strongest asset. We are blessed with exceptional young men that want to excel in the classroom, in the community, and on the field.” 

Heines and the Bulldogs have played in baseball postseason action in each of the last seven seasons that championship opportunities were available. (The 2020 baseball season was cancelled after 13 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Heines was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator in 2013 when the Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Division III Austin, Texas Regional. He was the associate head coach, pitching coach, and recruiting coordinator as the 2018 Bulldogs played in the NCAA Division III World Series and finished as the national runner-up. Heines also was instrumental in the Bulldogs’ 2019 run to the NCAA postseason. TLU hosted the 2019 NCAA Division III Seguin, Texas Regional Championship.

In total at TLU, Heines has been a part of two Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season championships, one SCAC Championship (tournament title), one NCAA regional championship, one NCAA DIII World Series appearance, and three total appearances in the NCAA DIII postseason.

“Rick has been an integral part of the success of TLU Baseball for the last eight years,” Burnett said. “When the opportunity arose for me to transition into a new position, it was important that the right coach take over the program to ease the transition for the returners. I knew Rick was the right person. He’s a great coach, and I am happy he’s getting a chance to lead the program. I expect TLU Baseball to continue to be successful both on and off the field.” 

In his role as pitching coach, Heines coached All-Americans Sean Kistler (2013), Nathan Malinovsky (2016 and 2018) and Dylan Drgac (2018). Malinovsky was the 2018 D3baseball.com All-West Region Pitcher of the Year and the D3baseball.com National Rookie Pitcher of the Year in 2016. Drgac was a playing All-American and an Academic All-American.

In the Bulldogs’ 2018 championship season, out of the 386 DIII baseball teams, TLU pitching ranked 12th nationally in earned run average, 32nd in hits allowed per nine innings, 38th in walks allowed per nine innings, 32nd in strikeout-to-walk ratio, 18th in walks-plus-hits per inning, and 21st in shutouts. 

In the run to the 2018 national championship finals, Drgac led the nation in games started (17), and Malinovsky and Drgac ranked second and fourth, respectively, in victories. Drgac and Malinovsky also ranked third and eighth, respectively, in total strikeouts.

In 2013, TLU closer Sean Kistler claimed All-American honors after not allowing a run (earned or unearned) the entire season. Kistler saved 14 games (a school record) and went 1-0 with an earned run average of 0.00. He struck out 33 and walked 12 in 29.1 innings of work.

Heines also coached All-Region pitching selections Jeff Spillane, Aaron Aleman, Dwayne Snider, and Lincoln Baylor.

In addition to his work as pitching coach, Heines also coached the TLU catchers. In 2018, Bulldog catcher Spencer Brandt was named the ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove award winner for NCAA Division III. In handling a pitching staff on a national runner-up squad, Brandt did not make an error all season, and he threw out 18 of 27 would-be base stealers.

Before arriving in Seguin in 2012, Heines served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M-Kingsville for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 baseball seasons.

In 2012, the Javelinas received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship (regional round). The Javelinas pitching staff led the Lone Star Conference in earned run average and strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Heines has coached eight Major League Baseball draft picks, including former TLU right-hander Kyle Simmons, who was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 24th round of the 2014 draft. Heines’ MLB draftee list also includes Texas A&M-Kingsville star Jaden Dillon, the Lone Star Conference Pitcher of the Year and a 29th round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2012. Heines coached Javelinas closer Cameron Dullnig, who broke the school record for saves and finished with a 0.00 ERA.

Heines is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and a graduate of San Antonio’s James Madison High School. He graduated from Purdue University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in movement and sports science. He has an associate’s degree in kinesiology from Midland College. In 2016, Heines completed his master’s degree in education administration from Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Heines was an all-conference selection at Midland College in 2004. He was All-Big 10 as a pitcher and Academic All-Big 10 in 2006. In 2007, Heines tied for the NCAA Division I season lead in shutouts, with four.

Heines was a volunteer assistant for Purdue in 2008. He assisted in coaching the pitchers. That season, Purdue lost 3-2 to Michigan in the Big 10 title game.

Heines and his wife Emily were married in 2014. Emily has completed a second bachelor’s degree at TLU, and she is pursuing her master’s degree in data analytics at TLU.

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