Georgia Gwinnett College’s Jeremy Sheetinger has received the 2021 Skip Bertman National Baseball Coach of the Year award from the College Baseball Foundation after leading the Grizzlies to their first NAIA national championship this spring.
“This award is accepted on behalf of our guys, the players on the field and in our dugout, that made this opportunity possible,” said Sheetinger, who guided GGC to a 51-10 record during the 2021 season. “This is a tremendous moment for Georgia Gwinnett College, our athletic department and baseball program, and NAIA baseball to be recognized on the national stage.”
The Grizzlies won 22 of their final 23 games, including all five games at the 2021 NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. The team, featuring four NAIA All-Americans and eight all-conference players, outscored its opposition by a 52-30 margin along the championship journey, defeating No. 1 seed Southeastern University (Fla.), No. 2 seed Central Methodist University (Mo.) twice, No. 4 seed Oklahoma Wesleyan University and No. 6 seed Faulkner University (Ala.). The national title came in an 8-4 victory against Central Methodist on June 3.
A national committee of active and retired coaches made the award selection to honor the best coach nationally among all levels of college baseball.
“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.”
Sheetinger is the first NAIA coach to receive the honor since it was created in 2013. Past award winners have been Erik Backich of the University of Michigan (2019), Kevin O’Sullivan of the University of Florida (2017), Paul Mainieri of Louisiana State University (2015), and Tim Tadlock from Texas Tech University (2014). No award was presented during the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened season.
The award is named in honor of National College Baseball Hall of Famer Skip Bertman, who coached LSU to five NCAA Division I national championships while leading the Tigers from 1984-2001.
“The high level of respect and admiration that I have for Coach Bertman makes this moment very special,” Sheetinger said. “What Skip did for college baseball and our game has impacted all of us who has followed him in the dugout.”
Sheetinger has guided GGC to a 74-12 record in his two seasons leading the program. Later this month, he is planning to assist the USA Baseball Task Force in identifying and selecting future Team USA national team players. Sheetinger was on the coaching staff of The Canes 16-and-under age group team that won the 2020 Perfect Game World Wood Bat Association national championship tournament.