Trinity Baptist College Athletics

TBC Names Copeland New Baseball Coach

Jacksonville, FL—Trinity Baptist College Director of Athletics John D. Jones announced the addition of Baseball as the newest varsity program to be sponsored by the Eagles growing NCCAA athletic program. Play will begin during the 2014-2015 academic year and the team will be immediately eligible to compete in NCCAA region and national tournaments. TBC tabbed veteran head coach Jon Copeland as the new head baseball coach. He will be introduced to the campus community during the school’s 11:00am Chapel service on Monday morning.

"I am elated for our College, and more specifically our baseball program, to have Jon Copeland become our new head coach," stated Jones. "His track record of leading successful Christian College baseball programs, coupled with his vast experiences working in some of the top NCAA Div. 1 baseball programs in the country, make him the perfect choice to launch our new program.

"More importantly, Coach Copeland has a strong testimony for Jesus Christ and seeks to use baseball as a platform to influence young people for the Lord. He is a man of integrity who will be committed to running a program that does things the right way. This is a great day for Trinity Baptist College Baseball."

Copeland is no stranger to the process of launching a program from scratch. In 2011, he started the program at Florida Christian College (now Johnson University-Florida), and in their first two seasons the Suns enjoyed one of the best program starts in college baseball history. Last year the FCC Suns racked up an impressive season, with wins over NCAA DII power Ashland University (OH), series wins over NAIA #16 William Carey University (MS) and Ave Maria University (#2 in the Sun Conference), and series splits with NAIA powers Mt Vernon Nazarene University (OH) and Southeastern University (FL). The Suns finished in 3rd place at the NCCAA College World Series.

In Copeland’s first year at FCC the Suns ended their inaugural 2012 season with a #2 national ranking and a Runner-Up finish at the NCCAA College World Series. The program also earned the National Team Sportsmanship Award.

A native of southern California, Jon played four years of collegiate baseball at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he graduated with degrees in English and Physical Education. He served as an Assistant Coach/Assistant Head Coach at his alma mater, where he helped lead the Eagles to four conference championships in a row. After Biola, Copeland spent one year at NCAA DI, University of California-Irvine, under the leadership of current 2013 NCAA Div. I National Champion, UCLA Head Baseball Coach, John Savage.

In 2006, Copeland was named the Head Coach at Nyack College, an evangelical Christian institution in New York, where he turned a perennial losing program into a national contender in only three seasons. Jon compiled an impressive list of accomplishments while at Nyack, most notably a semi-final finish at the NCAA DII CACC Championship Tournament. Under Copeland’s leadership, the Warriors also earned consecutive NCCAA Regional appearances, a #4 national ranking, and an invitation to the NCCAA College World Series as a team.

Jon and his wife, the former Stephanie Nickel, have a son, Joshua (13), and a daughter, Sydney (11). Jon’s wife Stephanie is a worship leader, a college voice teacher, and a professional vocalist.

What some of the top college baseball coaches in the country have to say about Jon:

“Having been around Jon Copeland, I have developed a great appreciation for him as a person and his knowledge of the game. Jon possesses genuine human qualities that make him a strong candidate to lead young student athletes at the highest level. Over the span of years that Jon has been a head coach, he has had to work in situations that are very restrictive in nature and demand a lot of creativity in order to have success. Although working with minimal scholarship money, limited budget and recruiting resources, Jon has shown the capacity to upgrade his programs each year. During my time of getting to know him and interacting with him on a daily basis, I can fully understand why he is a successful human being. He is very diligent and passionate in his approach to coaching and committed to the students development. Jon has a genuine desire to be a college coach and the strong knowledge base that he has attained will continue to lead him in this direction. He conducts himself in a first class manner and is well respected by his peers throughout college baseball.”

Tim Corbin
Head Coach, Vanderbilt University (2003-currently)
2000 Collegiate Baseball Assistant Coach of the Year (Clemson)
NCAA Div. I Regional- 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, NCAA Div .I Super Regional- 2004, 2010, 2012, 2013
NCAA Div. I College World Series- 2011
2007 SEC Coach of the Year

“At UC-Irvine, Jon gained valuable experience and knowledge in the areas of pitching, hitting, defense, recruiting, practice organization, individual and team practice preparation, and game preparation at the Division I level. Jon’s involvement with our team showed him to be a very personable, intelligent, honest, generous, and hard-working individual who is respected by both players and staff. As a Division I head coach I have a personal understanding of what it takes to be one, and Jon has what it takes. His results speak for themselves. Not only is Jon a proven winner, but he is also a proven program builder. Success follows him wherever he goes.”

John Savage
Head Coach, University of California- Irvine (2002-2004)
University of California- Los Angeles (2005-currently)
1998 Collegiate Baseball Assistant Coach of the Year (USC)
NCAA Div. I Regional- 2004, 2006, 2007, NCAA Div. I Super Regional- 2008
NCAA Div. I College World Series- 2010, 2012
NCAA Div. I College World Series National Champions- 2013
Baseball America National College Coach of the Year- 2013

“Jon was an integral part of a coaching staff that worked with 12 players who were drafted or signed professional baseball contracts. In the five years that Jon was my assistant at Biola our infielders broke the single season record for double plays, and our defense set three consecutive school records for fielding percentage (.961 in ‘98, .970 in ’99- no. 2 in the nation , .978 in ‘00- no. 1 in the nation). Jon coached 9 infielders who were named All-Conference and 3 NAIA All-Americans. Biola’s overall record in Jon’s tenure as an assistant for me was 180-78. Jon was well-liked and highly respected by all our players and the rest of my coaching staff. His integrity and overall knowledge of the game of baseball are impeccable.”

John Verhoeven
Head Coach, Biola University (1998-2013)
5-time Golden State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year
NAIA College World Series, 2001, 2003, 2005