LSUE's Jeff Willis: Filling The Trophy Case of Life

Bengals won 7th National Championship in 2021
Jeff Willis LSUE.jpg
Posted at 11:51 PM, Jun 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 00:51:37-04

In a sports society that focuses so often on championships or bust, LSUE breaks through the mold while still achieving excellence.

"Man if we weren't to win a national championship (this year), I would never say this year is wasted, because this was the best year of my life," LSUE Pitcher Jake Hammond said.

The architect of that mindset in Eunice is Head Coach Jeff Willis who is in his 18th year coaching the Bengals.

"I think in life, I think there's always something to prove." Willis said. "I don't think your career, your life is dictated by temporary things. When I talk about that, those are trophies. Those are trophies that over some point and time will probably be thrown in the garbage."

Willis during his time in Eunice has racked up 902 wins and 7 championships, with his most recent title coming this season. But his hunger for success has never been greater.

"As a very competitive individual in myself, we want to win the last game of the year," Willis said. Everybody likes to win. The question is what is the definition of success? Is the definition of success winning the last game of the year or is it reaching your full potential in everything you're apart of."

Willis has also guided close to 200 players to 4 year institutions, with 57 Bengals being drafted by the Major Leagues. But his players leave with more than an improved fastball or swing.

"I think his impact is his ability to serve." LSUE outfielder and Dallas Baptist signee Jarrett McDonald said. "He's the most selfless guy I know."

"In today's society where we lack leadership, he teaches you how to stand up when others sit down," Charleston Southern signee and LSUE pitcher Jerry Couch said.

"Just the way that I handle situations now is different. I used to be extremely anxious," Hammond said, who is heading to play for UL Baseball in 2022. "My parents said they couldn't even recognize me. The man that I've become."

Throughout his tenure with LSUE, Willis has declined multiple chances to coach Division One baseball. The right opportunity may come one day. But for now, he's where he's called to be.

"We're at the best junior college baseball program in the country," Willis said. "I know God has a plan for my life and he has me where I'm supposed to be right now. That could be different 6 years from now, 20 years from now. We just don't know that. But I know I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be."
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