The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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Meet the Coaches: Jason Anderson

The+Eastern+Illinois+baseball+team+celebrating+a+walk-off+7-6+win+in+game+two+of+a+doubleheader+over+Little+Rock+while+Trojan+head+coach+Chris+Curry+argues+with+the+umpires+about+a+call+that+was+overturned+at+first+base+Saturday+afternoon.+The+Panthers+won+their+first+OVC+series+of+the+season.+
Han Byer
The Eastern Illinois baseball team celebrating a walk-off 7-6 win in game two of a doubleheader over Little Rock while Trojan head coach Chris Curry argues with the umpires about a call that was overturned at first base Saturday afternoon. The Panthers won their first OVC series of the season.

Meet Jason Anderson, a former MLB pitcher and current head coach of Eastern’s baseball team.  

Growing up in the small town of Veedersburg, Indiana, Anderson had to get creative when playing baseball as a kid. 

With nobody his age around, one day he decided to pick up a baseball and start throwing it at a brick wall. It was then that his love for the game was sparked.  

Anderson would continue to do that for four to five hours per day from 6 to 10 years old.  

“I didn’t have a ton of athletes in my family, so it wasn’t like my goal was to make it to the major leagues,” Anderson said. “I just loved playing baseball. I loved throwing a baseball as hard as I could. It was a little bit of an outlet for me.” 

By his senior year at Danville High School, Anderson was one of the top pitchers in the state of Illinois. 

Anderson recorded a 14-1 record and six consecutive shutouts, which is still a school record today and is tied for the state record.  

Anderson attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign before being drafted in 2000 by the New York Yankees. 

While at U of I, Anderson accumulated many accolades and was named the 2000 Big 10 pitcher of the year. 

In the MLB, Anderson made 22 appearances for the Yankees before being traded to the New York Mets in his rookie season, where he would make six more appearances to close out the 2003 MLB season.  

In total, Anderson pitched 38 innings at the major league level with the Yankees and Mets as well as one inning of work with the Cleaveland Indians. 

Anderson pitched at the professional level for 12 years, bouncing around the minor league affiliates of the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies. 

Anderson retired from professional baseball on July 19, 2011, and became a dad one week later.  

Hanging up the spikes on his playing career, Anderson focused on parenthood and finishing his degree, but he didn’t give up baseball forever. 

“I transitioned to being a dad and a student, and then I volunteered to be a coach at Illinois and that’s kinda where it got started of ‘Hey, this is something I think I could really enjoy,’” Anderson said. 

Despite the hour-long commute every day, Anderson stuck it out and continued to volunteer for his alma mater. 

“It was really a challenge, but you really start to get to know the players on a different level as a coach, and that was what was starting to excite me,” Anderson said. 

As soon as Anderson completed his degree in 2012, he was offered the pitching coach job at Eastern. 

After three seasons, Anderson was promoted to head coach following the firing of longtime head coach and manager Jim Schmitz. 

Once Anderson took over in 2016, the Eastern baseball program began the steady incline from a 15-39 record in his first season to a school record in the win column, a 38-21 record, and an Ohio Valley Conference championship last season.  

Anderson has settled in fully now as the manager and head coach of Eastern’s baseball team. 

“I love everything about it,” Anderson said. “This is home to me.” 

  

Gabe Newman can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributor
Han Byer, Photographer
Han Byer is a senior sociology major and she can be reached at 581-2912 or at [email protected].

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