Scott Googins was named the 28th head baseball coach at the University of Cincinnati on June 6, 2017, after spending 12 seasons as the skipper at Xavier University.
Googins makes the move across town after 12 seasons as the head coach at Xavier. The all-time winningest coach in XU history, he compiled a 341-357 record with four NCAA Tournament appearances including back-to-back regional finals berths in 2016 and 2017 and six regular season or conference tournament championships.
Googins led Xaiver to a 34-27 finish in 2017. The Musketeers won their second-straight BIG EAST Tournament Championship and advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals for the second-straight year. Rylan Bannon was named the BIG EAST Player of the Year and the Musketeers featured six all-league selections.
During his 12 seasons at the helm at XU, Googins earned coaching accolades as the 2009 ABCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year, the 2008 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year and the 2016 BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year. Additionally, 11 of his players were chosen in the MLB First Year Player Draft since 2005, including Seth Willoughby whose fourth-round selection by the Colorado Rockies in 2012 was the highest pick in program history.
The Xavier program soared to new heights under Googins’ tutelage, earning its first Atlantic 10 Championship and first NCAA victory in 2009. Its first BIG EAST Championship win and second NCAA tournament victory came in 2014 before back-to-back BIG EAST Championship titles and NCAA Regional Championship appearances in 2016 and 2017.
Before taking the head coaching role at Xaiver, Googins was an assistant at Miami (Ohio) from 2000-04. During his tenure working primarily with the outfielders, the RedHawks made four straight Mid-American Conference Tournament appearances. Two of his players left for the professional ranks with one garnering All-American honors before his departure. Googins also was in charge of academics, travel and field maintenance and the team recorded the highest GPA among men's teams at Miami under his guidance.
He was an assistant at Indiana from 1992-99, working with the Hoosiers' catchers, outfielders and hitters. He was a part of the 1996 Big 10 Championship team and traveled to the Wichita State Regional in the NCAA Tournament. Off the field, Googins assisted in the recruiting process, facility and field maintenance, academic progress and the supervision of student managers.
A native of Granville, Ohio, Googins was a three-year varsity letterwinner at Ohio Wesleyan in Delaware, Ohio. He moved into a coaching role as a senior and stayed on after graduation, coaching first base and working with the team's catchers.
Googins and his wife, Jody – a former volleyball standout at Xavier – live in West Chester, Ohio, with their daughter, Ellie, and two sons, Tommy and Charlie.
Kyle Sprague joined the University of Cincinati baseball staff in the Summer of 2017.
Sprague comes to UC after two seasons on Head Coach Scott Googins’ staff at Xavier University as the volunteer assistant coach. Sprague directed XU’s camps, assisted in all facets of the program and coached first base during games.
“Kyle has been with me the past two years and is a great addition to our staff here at UC,” Googins said. “He brings a lot to the table - he does an unbelievable job with developing infielders and is on the cutting edge with hitters. He's a young up-and-coming coach who's very energetic and passionate about what he does.”
During his two seasons at Xavier, the Musketeers won a BIG EAST Conference regular season championship (2016), two-straight league tournament championships (2016 & 17) and played in consecutive regional finals in the NCAA Championship (2016 & 17).
Sprague worked with hitters and infielders and assisted with outfielders at Xavier. The Musketeers set a school record with a .977 fielding percentage in 2017 after tying the previous record with a .974 mark in 2016.
He mentored six Xavier players who went on to play professionally, including:
2017 second-round selection Zac Lowther, eighth-rounder Rylan Bannon, 18th-round pick Garrett Schilling and 22nd-round choice Greg Jacknewitz. Dan Rizzie and Andre Jernigan were 13th and 14th-round picks in 2016.
Sprague has previous experience in the American Athletic Conference having served as a volunteer assistant coach at UCF in 2015.
At UCF, Sprague was in charge of the Knights' outfielders and coached first base during games, while aiding the development of the team's infielders and catchers along with hitting responsibilities. The Knights achieved a program-best No. 6 ranking during the 2015 campaign.
Sprague guided seniors JoMarcos Woods and Erik Barber in 2015 to career bests in the outfield and at the plate, garnering recognition on The American All-Conference team. Woods posted a .323 avg. with five homers and 32 RBI, while Barber compiled a .313 avg. and a team-high 11 homers.
Under Sprague in 2014, all three of the Knights outfielders - Erik Barber, Sam Tolleson and Derrick Salberg - were honored to one of The American's three all-conference teams. Salberg tallied a .992 fielding pct., while junior JoMarcos Woods led all position players with a .994 pct.
While at UCF, Sprague aided the development of four players - Eric Skoglund (3rd), Dylan Moore (7th), James Vasquez (25th) and Mitchell Tripp (36th) - who were all selected in the MLB Draft.
Before coming to Orlando, Sprague held the volunteer assistant position during the 2012-13 season at Gardner-Webb. While with the Runnin' Bulldogs, catcher John Harris was a Johnny Bench Award nominee and the team set a program best in fielding pct. at .969.
Sprague has extensive experience as a camp instructor, working at the Marc Wilkins Baseball Academy from 2007-12 and for Cal Ripken Baseball in 2009. He also has served as a camp instructor at Clemson, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, LSU and Mississippi State, among others.
The Mansfield, Ohio, native graduated from Malone (Ohio) University with degrees in business administration and sports management. He played collegiately at Malone and Tiffin University.
Sprague and his wife Erin live in Cincinnati.
JD Heilmann started his second stint as an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati in the summer of 2017.
Heilmann previously coached at UC from 2009-13, serving as the Bearcats pitching coach and recruiting coordinator and was responsible for bringing former All-American and current Chicago Cubs infielder Ian Happ to the Queen City.
He joins Head Coach Scott Googins' staff after working as the general manager of the Midland Baseball program, overseeing 18 amateur teams with ages ranging from 8-18. He also served as Prep Baseball Report's scouting supervisor (2016-17) and Scouting Director (2014-16) and was an associate scout for the Atlanta Braves (2015-17).
Heilmann is regarded as one of the top pitching coaches in college baseball and is known for his ability to develop and relate to pitchers.
He overtook a Cincinnati pitching staff that posted a 6.73 ERA in 2009 and shrunk the group’s ERA to 4.25 in 2010, which ranked third in the BIG EAST Conference and 26th nationally.
Under Heilmann’s tutelage, seven Bearcats went on to pitch in professional baseball. Six were selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft – right-handers Connor Walsh (2014), Zach Isler (2012), Christian McElroy (2012) and Dan Jensen (2011), and lefties Brian Garman (2010) and Kevin Johnson (2010) and Ryan Atkinson (2015) signed a free-agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Additionally, Heilmann mentored Andrew Strenge, who was named a 2010 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and a PingBaseball.com Third-Team Freshman All-American after breaking the BIG EAST single-season ERA record with a 0.62 ERA in conference-only contests.
Under the direction of Heilmann, third-team all-conference performer Andrew Burkett anchored the back end of Cincinnati’s bullpen in 2010 and broke Cincinnati’s single-season saves record with 14 after entering the campaign with one career save.
Prior to Cincinnati, Heilmann served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Xavier University for seven seasons and in 2009, he helped the Musketeers to a school record for wins en route to their first Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. From that squad, left-handed pitcher Danny Rosenbaum was drafted in 22nd round by the Washington Nationals and Jordan Conley signed as a free agent with the Florida Marlins.
A season earlier, Heilmann led an XU pitching staff that posted a league-best ERA of 3.39 in Atlantic-10 play, which included 2008 draft pick Charlie Leesman and free-agent signee Michael Lucas. Leesman was the second-highest draft pick in program history.
In his first two seasons at Xavier, Heilmann's primary on field duties were outfielders, base running, and bunting and he also assisted in local and regional recruiting. During those two years, he coached outfielder Jay Johnson, who was eventually a 13th-round draft pick by the Boston Red Sox.
Lee Sponseller rejoined the Cincinnati baseball staff in August 2020 as the volunteer assistant coach.
In this role, Sponseller will work with the outfielders as well as the hitters and perform other duties necessary for the advanced development of the student-athletes. He was formally a member of the Bearcats staff as the volunteer director of player development for a short stint.
Sponseller previously coached at Ohio Dominican where he served as the volunteer assistant coach, handling the team's hitting and outfielders as well as assisting with base running. He played at Ohio Dominican, finishing his career with a .367 batting average with 26 homeruns and 108 RBI. From there, he spent one year as a graduate transfer at Coastal Carolina, hitting .290 during the season with six homeruns and 42 RBI, including three grand slams.
Sponseller earned a bachelor's degree in finance and economics from Ohio Dominican in May 2017 and graduated with an MBA from Coastal Carolina in August 2018. He currently resides in Mason, Ohio.
Andy Nagel joined the UC baseball staff on Aug. 31, 2015, as the Director of Baseball Operations. He brings an extensive baseball background, including an 8-year stint as an assistant coach at local Archbishop Moeller High School.
Nagel coached at Moeller from 2008 until 2015, running the JV program for the first two years and acting as a varsity assistant from 2010-15. His duties included working with the infielders, outfielders and pitchers on defense, as well as instructing the hitters and baserunners. He was in charge of the in-game defensive alignment and was the first base coach for the Crusaders.
In 2015 Nagel was named the Ohio High School Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year for the Southwest District.
The highlights of his eight-year coaching career include four Ohio state championships (2009, 2012, 2013, 2015), seven state semifinal appearances and seven regional championships. Moeller finished at the top of the Ohio Coaches Poll in 2010, 2011 and 2015 and was the city of Cincinnati Coaches Poll champion on four occasions.
Nagel tutored 60 student-athletes who went on to play collegiately and four players who were selected in the Major League Baseball draft.
He played at Moeller from 1984-1988 alongside MLB legend Ken Griffey, Jr., former MLB player and current St. Louis Cardinals bench coach David Bell and former MLB player Adam Hyzdu.
Nagel played collegiately at Walsh University and was named First Team All-Mid-Ohio Conference during his senior season. He graduated in 1992 with a degree in communications.
He and his wife Julie currently reside in Green Township, Ohio, with their three children, Jim, Tricia and Alex.