LUBBOCK, Texas – The Georgia Gwinnett College baseball team put together one of the most impressive runs in the history of the NAIA World Series earlier this month, sweeping all five games en route to the program’s first national title.
Head coach Jeremy Sheetinger remarked afterward about the toughness and resiliency of his team, which ended the season winning 22 of its last 23 games and was ranked No. 6 in the nation going into the postseason. All combined, it made for a historical season and one that also puts Sheetinger at the forefront of coaches as the 2021 Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year Award winner.
"Coach Sheetinger did a great job this year in leading his ballclub to the NAIA national championship,” said Mike Gustafson, chairman and CEO of the College Baseball Foundation. “He's a very deserving recipient of this year's Skip Bertman Award."
The award is named for legendary LSU head coach and National College Baseball Hall of Famer Skip Bertman, who coached the Tigers from 1984 to 2001. In his time at LSU, Bertman won five national championships and was named National Coach of the Year six times. He coached 31 players who went on to play Major League Baseball and was part of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2006.
Sheetinger was selected by a national committee of active and retired coaches from all levels of college baseball. The Bertman Award recognizes coaches at every level of college baseball. Past winners of the award include Erik Backich from Michigan (2019), Jeff Willis from LSU-Eunice (2018), Kevin O’Sullivan from Florida (2017), Tim Scannell from Trinity University (2016), Paul Mainieri from LSU (2015), Tim Tadlock from Texas Tech (2014) and Mike Dickson from Gloucester County College (2013).
Hired to take over the Grizzlies program prior to the COVID-19-shortented 2020 season, it didn’t take long for Sheetinger to put the college on top of the NAIA baseball world. The Grizzlies went 23-2 that year, winning their final 22 games before the season was cut short.
At the 2021 NAIA World Series, the Grizzlies blew through the competition, beating No. 1 seed Southeastern (Fla.), No. 4 seed Oklahoma Wesleyan and No. 2 seed Central Methodist (Missouri) twice, including in the title game.
Prior to taking over at Georgia Gwinnett, Sheetinger served as the college division liaison for the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) from 2016 to 2019, responsible for all communications and relationship building with coaches and administrators at the Division II, Division II, NAIA and junior college levels. Under his guidance, the ABCA experienced a 200 percent growth in membership and attendance for all organization annual conventions.
Sheetinger also has served as an associate scout for the Atlanta Braves since 2015.
Before joining the administration of the ABCA, Sheetinger spent three seasons as the head coach at NCAA Division II Spalding University in Louisville, Ky., where he compiled an 86-43 record and went to the conference postseason tournament all three years.
Other stops include three seasons as the director of baseball operations at the University of Kentucky, assistant coach at NCAA Division II St. Joseph’s College in Indiana for two seasons, and assistant coach stops at NAIA programs Brescia University and Georgetown College, both in Kentucky.
Sheetinger will be recognized by the College Baseball Foundation during the Virtual Night of Champions event June 26. The event video will be available at www.collegebaseballhall.org.