Baseball Coaching Staff
Former Chiefs' player Brad Unger leads Waubonsee's program
Brad Unger, Head Coach
The 2017 season will be Bradley Unger’s third as head coach of the Waubonsee baseball program. He looks to follow up a fantastic 2016 season which saw his Chiefs win 37 games, advance to the NJCAA Division III World Series in North Carolina, and finish the season seventh in the nation. Subsequently he was named the Region IV Division III and NJCAA District B Coach of the Year. Under his direction the last two years the Chiefs have had 13 players earn All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) honors and seven All-Region status, while designated hitter Klay Nafziger was an NJCAA Third Team All-American in 2016.
Coach Unger is the Assistant Regional Director for the Great Lakes Region with USA Baseball in their NTIS (National Team Identification Series) program. In addition, he is an Associate Scout for the Toronto Blue Jays. Unger is also part of Caliendo International Sports, where he coaches 15U-17U teams on International trips to Italy, Dominican Republic and Cuba. In addition, Unger is a Regional Instructor and Director of Travel baseball with the NPA (National Pitching Association) Chicago-group, and has worked for the prestigious Perfect Game scouting agency (1999-2001) leading their Davenport (IA) team in the Area Code Prospect Games.
Unger coached 16 seasons in the Aurora American Legion League, directing his teams to over 200 wins and a league title in 2011. He enters his 19th season on the league’s Board of Directors as the League Director and Director of Fundraising, where he is tasked with collaborating on the league's annual budget, fundraising opportunities, and maintains the league’s website. He began coaching in 1998, leading Trinity Lutheran Jr. High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to its first winning season (16-11) in school history. Unger also helped found the Joliet Area Colt Conference in 2000 and was the league's commissioner until 2008. Unger guided Elmhurst College’s Winter Instructional Baseball Camps for 8 to 14 year olds from 2002 through 2006. Before taking over at Waubonsee Unger was the head varsity baseball coach at Hinckley-Big Rock High School for three season, guiding the Royals to the Little Ten Conference title (2013) and the Regional Championship games in 2013 and 2014.
A Plainfield Central High School graduate, Unger played his freshman season at Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he earned the team’s 1999 Top Newcomer of the Year Award. An injury forced him to red-shirt the following season before he transferred to Waubonsee for his sophomore year to play for Hall of Fame Coach Dave Randall. In 2001 Unger was the Chiefs’ starting catcher, earning All-Skyway Conference, and All-Region honors that spring before representing Waubonsee in the NJCAA Region IV All-Star Game. The following summer Unger competed for International Athlete’s Team USA squad that traveled to Italy to play against professional teams in the Italian Baseball League (IBL). Unger then moved on to Elmhurst College and was the Bluejays’ team captain the next two years. His senior year he was selected to the All-CCIW First Team, was tabbed an NCAA Division III Second Team All-American, and was named Elmhurst College’s Male Athlete of The Year. Unger then went on to play professionally in the IBL with the San Marino Baseball Club in San Marino, Italy in 2003.
Unger earned his Associate’s degree from Waubonsee in 2001, his Bachelor's degree from Elmhurst College in 2003, double majoring in Business Administration and Marketing, and his Master's degree from Concordia University-Irvine in 2015, majoring in Coaching and Athletic Administration. He and his wife Shannon reside in Plainfield and have two kids, six-year-old daughter Madelyn, and two-year-old son August.
Rodney Lopez, Assistant Coach
Rodney Lopez joins the Chiefs’ coaching staff for the 2017 season. He brings years of experience at the youth and prep level to Waubonsee’s dugout. Lopez will be actively working with the Chiefs’ infielders, while also serving as the first base coach.
Lopez began his coaching career as a volunteer with the Hegewisch Little League on the south side of Chicago. He held roles as a Coach, Manager, Vice-President and President helping the league win several tournament championships as well as a trip to the state tournament. Coach Lopez went on to start the Hegewisch Heat travel baseball program, which featured multiple teams with over fifty players in the program. More than a dozen Heat players went on to play in college.
Lopez also coached at the high school level, serving as an assistant coach and junior varsity head coach at St. Francis de Sales of the Chicago Catholic League. Off the field he took on an even larger role as the school’s Alumni Director and ultimately Advancement Director. Lopez helped with the Pioneers’ fundraising, student procurement, and assisting students in the college placement process. Coach Lopez later took over as the junior varsity head coach at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep. He helped the Eagles’ soar in the competitive Jackie Robinson South Conference of the Chicago Public League, as they developed into a contender for the conference title and Regional Championship.
Lopez’ full-time job for over the last 20 years has been as a member of the Chicago Fire Department. He has served the people of Chicago along with the communities of Roseland, Hegewisch, and South Chicago. At the same time Lopez has earned state certification as an EMT-B, Hazardous Materials Technician, and FAA clearance official. Coach Lopez and his wife Heidi reside in Chicago and have three sons, two of which currently play at Beloit College in Wisconsin. Colton is a junior pitcher and first baseman for the Buccaneers, and Mason is a freshman pitcher, while 11-year old Merek is a sixth grader in Whiting, Indiana.
Mark Sheehan, Volunteer Assistant Coach
Mark Sheehan joins the Chiefs coaching staff in 2017 as a Volunteer Assistant Coach. The pitching guru brings a wealth of expertise to the Chiefs’ program, and will work with Waubonsee’s hurlers to continue the tradition of success.
Sheehan has trained extensively with former Major League Baseball pitcher and pitching coach Dr. Tom House, founder of the National Pitching Association (NPA) and Rod Dedeaux Research Baseball Institute (RDRBI) at USC. House is widely considered the “Father of Modern Day Pitching Mechanics.” Sheehan was recently named by House as the National Director of the NPA. The Collegiate Baseball News also named Sheehan the 2014 Tom House Teaching Professional of the Year Award in Orlando at the American Baseball Coaches Association’s Annual Convention.
Coach Sheehan has teamed with the Institute of Sports Medicine Department at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Chicago Children's Hospital to provide NPA science based instruction and rehabilitation for their pitching clients. With hundreds of current and former students playing at the collegiate and professional levels, Sheehan is one of the most sought after pitching instructors in the country.
Additionally, Sheehan coaches for Caliendo International Sports, where he leads 15U-17U teams on international trips, most recently to the Dominican Republic. Coach Sheehan currently splits his instruction time between NPA Central in the Chicago suburb of Plainfield and NPA in California.
Tim Bradburn, Volunteer Assistant Coach
Eddie Sanchez, Volunteer Assistant Coach
Erickson Hall, Room 121
(630) 466-7900, ext. 2524