Former Parkland Cobras Baseball standout Dave Garcia has been selected as the college's new baseball head coach and Fitness Center director.
Garcia was a catcher for the Cobras from 1998-2000 before finishing his college career at Northern Illinois University. He replaces Head Coach Matt Kennedy, who resigned earlier this summer to take a job at High Point University. Garcia becomes the 10th coach in the 42-year history of the baseball program.
Garcia is presently the hitting coach for the Joliet Slammers of the independent Frontier League after serving as the hitting/bench coach for the River City Rascals for the previous three seasons. He has also been the head coach and athletic director at Putnam County High School for the past eight years, leading the Panthers to the state finals in both 2013 (2nd) and 2008 (3rd). He has a career record of 124-52 at Putnam County and has earned numerous coaching honors.
"Coming back to Parkland is a dream for me," Garcia said.. Fifteen years ago I came to Parkland to play college baseball and to return now as the coach is truly amazing. I have stayed in touch with and followed the program closely since I graduated in 2000, and I want to return the team to the World Series. I’m excited to get started and look forward to the challenge."
Parkland Athletic Director Rod Lovett, who was Garcia’s coach in 1998-2000, said the standout "was at the top of my list when the job opened up earlier this summer.
"He has been a highly successful high school coach and athletic director and gained valuable experience coaching at the minor league level over the past four summers," Lovett said. "He is very knowledge about the game and is a tireless worker who will do an incredible job. I could not be happier to have Dave back at Parkland."
Garcia has worked quickly to fill out his coaching staff. Pitching Coach Travis Webb will return for a second season and will be joined by two newcomers, Nate Wilder and Zach Berryman. Wilder, who played at Kansas City CC and Arkansas Tech, played for Garcia at Joliet this summer and has decided to end his professional career to take up coaching. He will work with the outfielders and assist with the hitters. Another former Cobra, Zach Berryman, returns as a volunteer coach. Berryman was a member of the 2009 National Championship team before finishing his career at North Park University. He was an assistant under Garcia at Putnam County last season and will work with infielders and also help with the hitters.