Head Coach Danny Heep enters his 18th season with an impressive 548-368 (.598) mark. He has directed UIW to 30-win campaigns on 13 occasions and counts only two losing seasons on his record.
Heep had the difficult task of leading a first year NCAA Division I program in 2014 and he jumped right into it full bore by playing a full Division I schedule. The Cardinals played some big name programs like Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Baylor and they picked up non-conference wins against UT-Arlington, Gonzaga, LIU-Brooklyn, Hofstra, Central Michigan, UT-Pan American and Prairie View A&M. Overall, the team was a respectable 18-32 overall and 9-15 in the Southland Conference.
Heading into 2015, Heep has once again put together a difficult schedule, but the team should be more prepared with a year of experience under its belt. They will play in the Irish Classic for a second straight year against Notre Dame, Northwestern and Villanova. In addition, they have road trips scheduled for Texas A&M, New Mexico State, Texas, Texas State, Baylor and TCU.
While the going may get rough, Heep has the UIW program on the right path. With some of the top programs in the nation on the schedule for 2015, the Cardinals will certainly get a chance to find out what it takes to win at the Division I level.
Chase Tidwell is in his third year with the UIW baseball program and he understands the challenges of moving from NCAA Division II to Division I. He has become known for building and turning around programs quickly. Tidwell is the lead recruiter for the Cardinals and knows the type of players it will take to be successful in the Southland Conference and Division I.
"To be able to help basically build a program from scratch at the highest level of college baseball is very unique. Some people call it a challenge, but we call it an opportunity," said Tidwell when he was hired.
In addition to being a strong recruiter of baseball players, Tidwell also helped recruit the newest UIW baseball coach. Ryan Aguayo was recruited by Tidwell at New Mexico State and joined the UIW staff in the fall of 2014.
Ryan Aguayo enters his first season with the University of the Incarnate Word baseball team as an assistant coach. He spent the 2013 and 2014 campaigns as an assistant coach at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, CA.
In Aguayo's new role, he will work primarily with the infielders and hitters. He will also be heavily involved with recruiting on the offensive side of the ball. Prior to coming to UIW, Aguayo spent two seasons with the Cuesta College Cougars. There, he helped in aiding the Cougars to 19 consecutive postseason playoff berths and two conference championships.
In his Cuesta stint, Aguayo saw over a dozen players earn scholarships to premier schools, most notably, Zack Dominguez to Long Beach State University and Taylor Anderson to Kansas State University.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Volunteer assistant coach Matt Flores has been with UIW for five years - two years as a shortstop and three years as a volunteer coach. He works primarily with the infielders and assists with the outfielders. The 2014 team set the school record for highest team fielding percentage at .968 and they turned 27 double plays.
Flores is tied for first on the UIW all-time games played list in a single season with 59 and he posted a career on-base percentage of .468. The Corpus Christ, TX native finished his career with a .368 batting average for the Cardinals.
Flores attended Robstown High School where he was a four year letterman, as well as an All-State selection his Junior and Senior years. He was a starter at shortstop, and also took on the role as pitcher on occasion. He batted a .450 his senior year which helped him earn a scholarship to Alvin Community College. While playing at ACC, Flores received first team all-conference and all-region honors.