Baseball – Coaching Staff
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Morton native Brett Kelley begins his 13th season as Head Baseball Coach at Illinois Central College. In 2013-14, the Cougars will look to build upon a record-setting season that saw the Cougars break the school record for wins in a season with a 38-19 record. It is the third time that record has been broken during Kelley’s tenure. In addition to overseeing a staff of six assistant coaches, Coach Kelley also works with the pitchers and designs the Cougars’ in-season and off-season weight lifting and conditioning programs.
Kelley began his collegiate coaching career in the fall of 2000. He served as pitching coach and strength and conditioning coordinator. In August of 2001, Kelley was elevated to Interim Head Coach. After the 2002 season he was named Head Baseball Coach. He was voted Conference Coach of the Year after the 2005 season in which the Cougars won the league with a 22-2 conference mark. He is currently the winningest baseball coach in school history.
Kelley earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Western Illinois University, where he played football and baseball. Kelley was a member of the Leatherneck football team from ’94-‘97 and competed on two FCS playoff teams. He was also a member of the baseball squad from ’95-’99 where he served as captain in his final two seasons. Coach Kelley also earned a Master’s degree in Kinesiology from Western. Coach Kelley is currently the Director of the Fitness Center and Physical education coordinator at ICC. Kelley lives in Washington and is a founding member of the prestigious Central Illinois Outlaw baseball club.
Alton native Brian Lewis is in his 3rd season as Hitting Coach at Illinois Central College. Lewis’s duties include working with the hitters and coaching Third Base. Prior to joining the Cougars, Lewis served as assistant coach at Lewis & Clark Community College from 2001-2011. In the summer of 2013, Lewis joined the staff of the LaCrosse Loggers, the defending champions of the prestigious Northwoods League, one of college baseball’s best leagues. With the Loggers, Lewis is responsible for coaching 3rd base and working with the hitters.
Lewis coached professionally in the Frontier League as well. He served as Pitching Coach for the Kalamazoo Kings in 2010. He was Director of Baseball Operations as well as Hitting Coach for the River City Rascals from 2003-2006. Lewis was Manager of the Dubois County Bombers of the Prospects League from 2001-2003. Lewis has coached four current Major League players; Joe Thatcher, Cory Wade, Jeff Gray, and Justin Christian. Lewis currently resides in Washington, IL.
Peoria native Mike Mason marks his 12th year at Illinois Central College. He was an assistant for the 1997 and 1998 seasons. In 1999 Mason was the Head Baseball Coach at Spoon River College. After the 1999 season, Mason accepted the head coaching job at Eureka College where he was the coach for two seasons. He then returned to ICC and is in his second stint with the Cougars. Coach Mason currently serves as the bullpen coach.
Mason is a 1985 graduate of Bradley University. He works as a political consultant and teaches Physical Education at ICC.
Pekin native Mike McDonald returns for his second stint as an ICC assistant coach having worked with infielders and hitters from 2003-2007 before serving as head coach at Eureka College for two seasons. Prior to jumping to the collegiate level, Coach McDonald was head baseball coach at Morton High School for 24 years where his teams won seven conference championships, one state championship, and one state runner-up – team that was captained by McDonald’s current boss, Brett Kelley. Currently at ICC, Coach McDonald works with the infielders and serves as the Cougars’ first-base coach.
As a student athlete, he played for Canton Junior College (Spoon River) and Bradley University where he was a Missouri Valley All-Conference Third Baseman and later signed with the St. Louis Cardinals as a catcher. He played two seasons of Class AA ball before starting his coaching career.
Coach McDonald is a member of the Bradley University Hall of Fame, the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and, most recently, the Spoon River College Hall of Fame. Coach McDonald served as an associate scout with both the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bradley and master’s degree from Illinois State University in Physical Education.
Assistant Director of Baseball Operations
Peoria native Ben Diggle begins his 4th season as the Cougars Recruiting Coordinator and Baseball Operations Assistant. In the last two years, Coach Diggle has helped 21 Cougars move on to four-year schools.
Prior to coming to ICC, Diggle served as coach and recruiting coordinator of the Central Illinois Outlaws 17/18-U team, where he helped 38 of his 40 players reach the college level – including 17 players who moved on to the NCAA Division I level. He also had six former players selected in Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft (Seth Schwindenhammer, 5th round, Boston Red Sox, 2009; Phillip Wetherell, 8th round, New York Yankees, 2011; Josh Parr, 12th round, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2011; Chad Johnson, 5th round, Kansas City Royals, 2012; Justin Parr, 9th round, Philadelphia Phillies, 2013; Jordan Parr, 15th round, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2013).
In the spring of 2010, he served as an assistant coach under Tim Farquer at Limestone Community High School, where he coached the catchers and helped the Rockets to a 25-11 record and a Mid-Illini Conference championship. Diggle also serves as an Associate Scout for the Cincinnati Reds and is in charge of putting on the Reds lone Illinois tryout camp each July.
Morton native Tom Kinney begins his 2nd year as the pitching coach for his alma mater. After graduating from Morotn High School in 1986, pitched collegiately at Olney Central College, Illinois Central College, Florida Atlantic University, and Bradley University.
In his first year at ICC, Tom mentored three future NCAA Division I pitchers and lowered the pitching staff’s ERA by a full two runs compared to the 2012 team.
He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a free agent in 1990. That year as a pitcher in the Arizona Rookie League he won the Rolaids Relief Award as the best closer in the league. The next year he was assigned to the South Atlantic League in Savannah, Georgia. He was released later that year.
After retiring from pro ball, Tom finished his degree at Sangamon State University. He became a police officer and retired after nearly 20 years of service. In 2009. Tom became the pitching coach of the Waubonsee Community College Chiefs. He helped guide the Chiefs to an NJCAA Division III World Series berth. They ended up seventh in the nation. Kinney resides in Yorkville, Illinois with his wife of twenty years, Kim, and his three sons Thomas, Kyle, and Chase.
Princeton native Mike Fulkerson is in his 2nd year as an assistant coach at Illinois Central College. Coach Fulkerson will work with the outfielders and coach baserunning for the Cougars. Prior to coming to ICC, Fulkerson served as the head coach at Illinois Valley Community College from 2008 to 2010 and as the head coach at Morton College for the 2006-07 season. Prior to becoming a head coach, Fulkerson served as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at the University of Rochester, a Division III school in Rochester, N.Y. as well as holding the same titles at Concordia University-River Forest, a Division III school in the Chicago suburbs.
Coach Fulkerson also has strong ties to summer baseball, previously serving as an assistant for the Allegheny County Nitros and the Rochester Greys of the New York Collegiate Baseball League, which is now part of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Mike played collegiately at Illinois Valley Community College, the University of St. Francis and Concordia University-River Forest. Fulkerson and his wife, Becky, live in Peoria with their children, Dakota and Casey.