After six seasons, Ecclesia College Royals Baseball will enter a new era of leadership.
Derrion Hardie, the program’s founding head baseball coach, has accepted the head assistant baseball / recruiting coordinator, offensive and catchers coach position at Dakota State University.
“It is with bittersweet emotions that I am leaving as the head baseball coach at Ecclesia College,” stated Hardie. “My wife and I wanted to return back to our home state of South Dakota to be closer to family, so I accepted a great opportunity to serve as the head assistant baseball / recruiting coordinator, offensive and catchers coach at Dakota State University. The bitter part of this announcement is how much I am going to miss the amazing young men in our program. It’s been an honor and a privilege pioneering and protecting Royals Baseball from ground zero and being protected by it. I owe all of that to all of my assistant coaches and players. They have understood me during my good and bad days. They have been my role models who have built me into a better leader and shown me what it means to find fulfillment in the work we did together. Royals Baseball has given me a family. Although it hurts me tremendously to leave, I am at peace knowing that we built something extremely special together that no one thought we could do and will be departing with the program poised to continue to kick a dent in history. I am grateful to all that have been a part of our success, but I would like to specifically thank the following for their support and friendship of Ecclesia College Baseball. We would not have been able to accomplish what we accomplished without you.
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for allowing me to use the game of baseball to make a difference.
My wife, Lisa. There is a special place reserved in heaven for a coach’s wife.
The parents of all the players. Thank you for entrusting me to develop your son. It was something I did not take lightly.
Chad Wolff, Chris Gibson and the City of Springdale. Thank you for giving Royals Baseball a home and for always treating us well.
JT Baker and Perfect Timing Baseball Academy. You provided us with a gift that we could never pay you back that allowed us to exceptionally train and prepare our players. More importantly, I cherish your friendship more than anything.
David at Best Sports. Thank you for always going above and beyond the call of duty when it came to providing us with baseball apparel and equipment. You treated us like we were D1.
The sweet part about this announcement is being able to return back to our home state of South Dakota to be closer to family and the opportunity at Dakota State University.”
Hardie was hired to lead the development of the baseball program that began play in 2013. Hardie pioneered the Royals to six consecutive winning seasons, post-season berths and executed a five-year plan to qualify for the NCCAA World Series.
His 2017 team qualified for the World Series and finished No. 7 nationally-ranked. Hardie arguably had his most successful season in 2018, finishing with a 35-18 record and while his Ecclesia team broke most of the team's statistical records highlighted by a .330 team batting average.
His 2018 team also earned a 3.2 team grade point average (GPA) that ran the program's streak to twelve consecutive semesters with a 3.0 or higher team GPA.
Hardie engineered 175 wins in his six seasons as the head coach at Ecclesia. During that time, he produced five players that went on to sign professional contracts, five (5) All-Americans, eighteen (18) All-Region, twenty-four (24) All-Conference, two (2) Conference Player-of-the-Year and two (2) Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year selections.
One of Hardie’s assistant coaches, Matt McCue, has been named the interim head coach as of July 12. Hardie announced that he was leaving June 26 and has spent the past few weeks orientating Coach McCue into his new role.
“I’m excited for Coach McCue and proud of him,” stated Hardie. “I told Coach McCue that this type of transition rarely takes place in collegiate athletics these days. In most cases, coaches are either fired or leave disgruntled. That is not the case with our situation and I’m extremely proud of that. This is the way it should be done. It’s just another example of why the Royals Baseball Program is elite. Coach McCue understands EC and the baseball program’s vision and I believe he will pick up where we left off and continue to work relentlessly.”