In 2014, Jon Copeland was given the honor of starting and building the new Trinity Baptist College Eagles baseball program. The program’s first season in 2015 proved to be a very successful one as the Eagles more than doubled the average number of wins for a first-year program. In the process, TBC placed third in the NCCAA South Region, defeated multiple NCAA DII and NAIA programs, including the eventual Sun Conference Champions and the Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year, all while completing one of the toughest schedules in the NCCAA.
Last season, in 2016, the Eagles took another big step with over 20 wins, once again with multiple wins over NCAA DII and NAIA programs (including NAIA #5 USCB) in an even more competitive schedule. The Eagles, once again, placed third in the NCCAA South Region while having four players named All-Region.
The 2014 season was not the first time that Coach Copeland has been given the privilege of starting a new college baseball program and then putting together a historic first two years. In 2011, Copeland started the program at Florida Christian College (now Johnson University-Florida), and in their first two seasons, the Suns enjoyed one of the best program starts in college baseball history. In 2013, the FCC Suns racked up an impressive season, building a winning record while accumulating wins over NCAA DII power Ashland University (OH), series wins over NAIA #16 William Carey University (MS) and Ave Maria University (#2 in the Sun Conference), and series splits with NAIA powers Mt. Vernon Nazarene University (OH) and Southeastern University (FL). The Suns finished the season ranked #2 in the country, made it to their second consecutive regional final, and finished in third place at the NCCAA College World Series. FCC placed five players on the All-South region squad and had four players named All-American and one selection to the All-National Tournament Team.
In Copeland’s first year at FCC, the Suns ended their inaugural 2012 season with a winning record (including a regular season filled primarily with NCAA DII and NAIA opponents), a #2 national ranking and a runner-up finish at the NCCAA College World Series. The 2012 Suns also produced the South Region Player of the Year, four All-Americans, six All-South Region players, and two All-National Tournament selections from the College World Series. The national Runner-Up finish and Region Player of the Year were the first in FCC Athletic history. The program also produced the Hank Burbridge Award, given to the most outstanding NCCAA baseball player both on and off the field, and the National Team Sportsmanship Award.
A native of southern California, Jon played four years of collegiate baseball at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he graduated with degrees in English and physical education. Upon graduation, and after his playing career had ended with stints in Texas and California — and in Europe with Athletes in Action — Jon spent the next eight seasons coaching in southern California at the high school level, five of them as a head coach — with three trips to the postseason.
Jon’s next stop was as an assistant coach/assistant head coach at his alma mater, Biola University, where he helped lead the Eagles to four consecutive conference championships, a #4 final NAIA ranking during the 2001 season, and a sixth-place finish at the NAIA World Series.
After Biola, Copeland spent one year at NCAA DI University of California-Irvine under the leadership of 2013 NCAA Div. I National Champion and UCLA head baseball Coach John Savage. Copeland was then privileged with an opportunity to build a baseball program from the ground up at NCAA DII Colorado Christian University as the Assistant Head Coach. In 2006, Copeland was named head coach at NCAA DII Nyack College in New York, where he turned a perennial losing program into a national contender in only three seasons. Copeland compiled an impressive list of accomplishments while at Nyack, most notably a semi-final finish at the NCAA DII CACC Championship Tournament.
Under Copeland’s leadership, the Warriors also earned consecutive NCCAA Regional appearances, a #4 national ranking, and an invitation to the NCCAA College World Series. He also produced a CACC Player of the Year, a CACC Pitcher of the Year, nine All-CACC players, six NCAA Division II All-Region players, 10 NCCAA All-Region players, and a NCAA DII All-American — all during the most honored three seasons in Nyack College baseball history. Jon was then given the opportunity of spending the ‘09-‘10 season as an intern assistant coach at NCAA DI powerhouse Vanderbilt University under the tutelage of legendary coach Tim Corbin.
Jon currently has an overall coaching record of over 550 wins and a .623 winning pct. Last season, he picked up head coaching win no.300. He has 22 winning seasons in 27 years of coaching high school and college baseball. Jon has had seventeen former players who have been drafted or signed to professional baseball contracts, including three who have reached the Triple A level.
Jon and his wife, the former Stephanie Nickel, have a son, Joshua (15), and a daughter, Sydney (13). Jon’s wife Stephanie is a worship leader, a voice teacher, and a professional vocalist.