Breaking News Bar

Hiller hired as new EHS baseball coach

  • Mark Hiller was named new head coach of the Eldorado baseball team after last Thursday's school board meeting. Hiller, who graduated from EHS in 1997, replaced Brad Drust.

    Mark Hiller was named new head coach of the Eldorado baseball team after last Thursday's school board meeting. Hiller, who graduated from EHS in 1997, replaced Brad Drust.
    SPYDER DANN | mdann@dailyregister.com

 
By Spyder Dann mdann@dailyregister.com
updated: 6/23/2019 10:43 AM

For Mark Hiller, going home is just half the battle.

The Eldorado native was named head coach of the baseball team Thursday night and putting Eagle baseball back into dominance will be the other half to winning the war.

Hiller, who graduated in 1997, was part of the 1996 Elite 8 baseball team. After high school, Hiller played two seasons at Shawnee Community College, before getting his four-year degree at SIU.

Hiller has spent the last 14 years as both an assistant and head coach at Gallatin County High School, where in nine years as an assistant, the Hawks were 197-78 under Dave Cruson. Hiller assumed the reigns in the 2013-14 season and went 98-41, including two regional championships.

"For anyone who doesn't know how tough this decision was for me doesn't know the love I have for Gallatin County," Hiller said. "I have so much love for Gallatin County, the administration, the board members, the school staff and I'll say this: the students at Gallatin County High School are the best students in the world."

Hiller now returns to Eldorado, replacing Brad Durst, who in four years went 26-68.

The last winning season for Eldorado baseball came in the spring season of the 2006-07 calendar year when Eldorado went 23-6 under then first-year head coach Billy Tippett. The Eagles also won a regional in Class A that season.

There are a lot of boxes that need to be checked for Hiller, but at the top of the list is changing the culture of the EHS baseball program.

"Coming back home is a big deal for me and I want to prove that they made the right decision by hiring me," Hiller added. "It's an honor and a privilege to get the opportunity to come home and coach a game that I love. My grass roots of baseball are in Eldorado.

"I feel like this is one of the biggest opportunities for me in my coaching career and the timing just felt right for me. The biggest change in my opinion will have to be cultural. I want to bring a winning culture and winning attitude to a program that historically is a really good baseball school."

Hiller does not consider himself a savior to the program. He does however want to get the most out of his players. And bring back a winning tradition.

"It's going to be a lot of extra reps, either in the batting cages or on the field. We'll work on fundamentals of hitting and catching. I see a lot of potential in the players on roster and I want them to see their own potential and develop confidence, play hard for 21 outs. It starts by playing hard and take nothing for granted. You have to have confidence to be a good baseball player or anything in life."

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois Local Media News Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.