Eller brings championship culture back to GC
After a conference championship in 2017, the GC baseball team has set their eyes on nothing less for the 2018 season. This year, the Bobcats have erupted with a 6-0 start in Peach Belt Conference play, continuing to exemplify why they are the top team in the PBC.
“Last year was special when we went 35-15 and won the conference championship,” said head coach Jason Eller. “We led the nation in hitting and doubles for all of NCAA.”
That statistic dictates not only Division II but all three divisions of the NCAA.
The winning nature of the baseball program is historic, but the success has continued since the hire of Eller, who led the Bobcats to a conference championship in his first year.
“Coach Eller has a positive attitude that is infectious to the coaches and the players,” said athletic director Wendell Staton. “He is a high-energy, can-do kind of guy that people want to be around.”
Family ties and history led Eller to accept the head coaching job at GC, and meshed perfectly with the program.
Before coming to GC, Eller was head coach at Augusta University where his record was 66-81. Since coming to GC, his record is 44-20.
Eller embodies the ideal that no feat is too difficult to overcome. He takes everything in stride and is constantly finding solutions.
In his first season, Eller (left) brought a PBC tournament championship to GC.
“He doesn’t see adversity as obstacles but opportunities,” Staton said. “That’s something that carries over into the coaching staff and the team members.”
Every coach’s expectation is to build a successful program and a championship team. It all starts with the recruits and the coaching staff.
“The player-coach relationship is a big factor in success,” Eller said. “It’s all about surrounding yourself with a great coaching staff and recruiting the right players that fit the programs credentials.”
The winning attitude Eller implements into the team is more than just baseball. He inspires the players to lead the team themselves.
“He preaches fundamentals and accountability,” said senior Brandon Purcell. “He wants the program to be led by the players.”
According to Purcell, Eller’s coaching style differs from the baseball coach before him. Purcell, a redshirt sophomore, played for one year under the previous coaching staff.
“[Eller’s] more of a manager who has a positive outlook on everything and that’s different than the coach previously,” Purcell said. “His system can be implemented anywhere, and he can win.”
For freshman and sophomore players on the team, Eller is the only coach they have ever known at GC, and he has already made his impressionable mark on them.
“He cares about everyone so much, and he wants to do what’s best for the team,” said sophomore Cal Gentry. “Our team is a brotherhood, and our chemistry is a product of what coach Eller has molded us to be.”
Eller said he loves the players, his job and everything GC offers. It’s his home, and he couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Bobcats.
“It’s a blast to coach at a baseball school like GC,” Eller said. “There’s nothing like it. My job is as awesome as Kirby Smart’s.”