Northern Colorado Baseball Academy Northern Colorado Baseball Academy

COACHING STAFF

Carl Iwasaki – Owner

Carl Iwasaki became the ninth head baseball coach at the University of Northern Colorado, joining the Bears on Aug. 4, 2010. In each of his seasons at the helm, Iwasaki continues to build on the tradition of success in the storied program, a history that includes 20 NCAA Regional Tournament berths and 10 NCAA College World Series appearances.

Iwasaki, a Hawaiian native, stresses the importance of merging the Bears' athletic goals with re-uniting Northern Colorado Baseball alumni, facility upgrades, academic excellence and recruiting goals and stressing the importance of keeping Colorado high school baseball players at home to play for the Bears while they graduate from a great institution. Over the past eight seasons, Iwasaki has qualified for seven postseason tournament appearances including four consecutive Western Athletic Conference Tournaments in Mesa, Arizona.

Over the past eight seasons Iwasaki's teams have qualified for seven post season tournaments including four consecutive WAC conference tournaments in Mesa, Arizona. Under his direction the Bears have averaged 22 wins a year, transitioned from the Great West Conference to the Western Athletic Conference, qualified for two Great West Tournaments, qualified for three Western Athletic Conference tournaments (2015, '16, '17) and won the Great West Conference in 2013. The Bears have also maintained an impressive team cumulative GPA above 3.0.

The UNC players he’s coached have not been short on individual accolades. In 2011 Jarod Berggren became the 17th Bears player drafted in school history when the Rockies selected him. Jensen Park was voted Great West Conference Player of the Year in 2013 and Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2015. Park was the first UNC player in school history to receive either award. Ryan Yamane, left the program as the all time leader in walks with 154, shattering the previous record of 121 set by Jeff Cheek.

In 2018, Tory Watson was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round.

Prior to arriving at UNC, Iwasaki has more than 20 years of coaching experience in Colorado, Hawaii, California and Texas, with extensive national recruiting ties.  Iwasaki spent six seasons before coming to Greeley as the head coach at Austin College, where he was honored as Conference Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2007. His 2007 team won the SCAC Conference and went on to the NCAA West Regional. Prior to his tenure at Austin College, Iwasaki also spent time as an Assistant Coach at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, CA and as General Manager of the Honolulu Sharks of the MLB affiliated Hawaii Winter Baseball League.

As a player, Iwasaki played catcher at UNC from 1981 to 1984 under Hall of Fame Coach Tom Petroff and graduated in 1985.


Austin Miller – General Manager

Austin Miller is a native of Northern Colorado as he played his prep ball at Greeley West High School. After High School, Austin went on to play at Loyola Marymount University, where he was a Freshman All-American, as well as Cape Cod All-Star (best summer league in the country). Austin transferred back to UNC for his senior year to play in front of family and his home state, and led Northern Colorado to their most wins since joining the WAC. Coach Miller has strong ties in this community and believes in the baseball player that comes out of it.


Griffin Mueller – Operations Manager

Griffin is a native of Seattle, Washington and played his college ball at UNC.  He was an accounting major, and one of the best students at the University.  He handles all of the day-to-day operations of the Academy, and has a strong belief in growth and development.

 

 

 


Nick Childs – Director of Pitching

Nick Childs comes to UNC from Regis University in Denver, CO. Childs is a Colorado native who received his Master’s Degree from UNC in 2015 while serving as the graduate assistant. During his two years at Regis, Childs served as the pitching coach, camp director and played a large part in recruiting. In those two years, Regis finished in the top three in the RMAC in ERA including being ranked 2nd in 2018 which hadn’t been done since 2013. The 2018 staff also finished 2ndin strikeouts, 3rd in opponent batting average, and 3rd in walks.

In 2018, Childs coached the RMAC Pitcher of the Year, Brad Thoutt, who signed a professional contract with the Lincoln Saltdogs at the end of the year. In addition, the Rangers had two South Central All Region pitchers, three named RMAC First Team Conference and one honorable mention. The 2017 staff featured two RMAC All Conference pitchers, as well.

As a team, in Childs two years at Regis, they maintained a GPA over 3.0 in all four semesters including winning the Brechler Award for highest team GPA in the RMAC in 2017. In addition, the Rangers had back-to-back seasons .500 or better which had not been done in the past 20 years. The Rangers also qualified for the RMAC Tournament in both years.

Before Regis, Childs served as the pitching coach and lead assistant at the University of Science and arts of Oklahoma. Childs also worked as the camp director, outfielders’ coach and first-base coach. As the pitching coach, Childs helped the pitching staff to lead the NAIA in Strikeouts (603) and opponent batting average (.209). The staff also ranked second in the NAIA with a 2.56 ERA.

The pitching staff also featured a 7th round draft pick and free-agent-signee who were both All-Americans. In the one year that Childs spent at USAO, they set a record for wins in a season, won the first conference championship in school history, and qualified for the NAIA World Series for the first time in school history. In one recruiting class, Childs signed one NAIA All American and two pitchers who would later sign minor league contracts. Childs has strong recruiting ties in CO, AZ, TX, OK, and CA.

Prior to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Childs assumed the graduate assistant role at the University of Northern Colorado where he earned his Master’s degree in Sports Administration.

From 2011-2014, Childs was the Pitching Coach (2011-2013) and Head Coach (2013-2014) for Colorado State University NCBA team as well as coaching high school travel baseball during those summers.

Childs is graduated from Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, CO. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and Technical Communication from Colorado State University in 2011, and then received a Master’s from UNC.


Jake Ek – Director of Defense

Originally from Columbus, NE, Ek graduated from Columbus High School in 2012. Went on to play baseball at Hutchinson Community College in 2013-2014 being the starting short stop both years while getting an Associate’s Degree. He continued playing at University of Northern Colorado in 2015-2016 studying Sports an Exercise Science with an emphasis on coaching. Ek started at short stop for both years and was part of the first WAC tournament appearance in 2015 and then again in 2016.

After playing he continued school and helped out with the team in any way possible. In the spring of 2018 he was hired on to be the volunteer assistant working with the infielders/first base coach and director of ops. Ek will start his first full season this year with the same title.


Connor Leedholm – Pitching Instructor

Connor holds the single season and career record for saves at the University of Northern Colorado and is currently pitching professionally.  A stand out in Colorado and a local prospect.

 

 


Dean Lawson – Hitting / Infield Instructor

Dean was a 4 year stand out for the Northern Colorado Bears and one of the berst hitters in the WAC his senior year.  He brings a wealth of knowledge from UNC and being a prospect from High School powerhouse Rocky Mountain.

 

 


Corey Nakakura – Pitching / Infield / Hitting Instructor

A two-way standout for the UNC Bears, Corey Nakakura was one of the mainstays in the Bears lineup and off the mound.  He comes from Hawaii and brings a bunch of knowledge to the staff.

 

 


Peyton Tapia – Catching Instructor

Peyton is from Northern Colorado and was a 4-year player for the Bears.  He is from Windsor originally and is a proficient teacher at the catcher position.