The 2018 season is the 14th for Kyle Gould as the head coach of the Taylor University baseball program and his second full year as Taylor’s Athletics Director.
Since taking over the reins of the baseball program in 2005, Gould has amassed a record of 433-257 (.628) and has coached 55 first-team all-conference athletes over 13 seasons. Gould has also mentored six Crossroads League Players of the Year and five Crossroads League Pitchers of the Year, while seeing at least one player receive the honor in nine-straight seasons. In addition, three of Gould’s players have advanced to play professional baseball.
Gould has led the Trojans to seven Crossroads League Championships during his 13 previous years as head coach of the Trojans, claiming five-straight league titles from 2009 through 2013, with regular season crowns in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016 to go with tournament championships in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. Along with the league titles, Gould has been named the Crossroads League Coach of the Year five times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016), with each honor coming over the past eight seasons.
In all, Gould has helped TU to the 10-highest single-season win totals in school history, including a program record of 40 victories achieved during the 2016 campaign. Gould notched his 400th win during the 2016 season over Toccoa Falls College, and has climbed to within 12 victories in the dugout of surpassing Larry Winterholter (444) as the program’s all-time winningest coach.
Since the start of the 2009 season, Taylor has established itself as the top program within the Crossroads League with six championships in the past nine seasons. During that time, the Trojans have won at least 32 games in all nine seasons, while posting a collective mark of 325-267 (.661) and accumulating an even better record of 187-59 (.760) in league play.
In 2006 Gould led the Trojans to what was then a school-record 33 wins, a conference tournament championship and a berth in the NAIA regional tournament. Taylor also received national attention, reaching as high as No. 22 in the NAIA national rankings for the first time in the program’s history.
Three years later the Trojans set another new wins record with a 38-19 mark. The 2009 Trojans won the conference tournament championship and made program history with an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, its first national tournament appearance since 1969.
The following season led to the first outright Crossroads League Championship in school history, tying the school record for wins in a season (38-17) and earning a return trip to the NAIA National Tournament.
The 2011 season started with a pre-season ranking of No. 22 and saw a second consecutive CL Championship (35-14) and the longest winning streak in the NAIA at 24-consecutive wins.
In 2012 Gould directed the Trojans to their third straight regular season conference championship and the highest ranking in school history at No. 17 in the NAIA Top -25 Poll. The Trojans ended the year with a 38-20 record and advanced into the NAIA National Tournament.
Taylor continued its run of dominance throughout the 2013 season, winning the final 15 games of the regular season and taking 30-of-35 games to end the year with an overall mark of 35-14. The season was highlighted by 19 comeback victories, resulting in the fourth NAIA National Tournament appearance in five seasons for Taylor, where TU secured a win at nationals for the fourth time in a five-year span.
Gould guided the Trojans back to another championship and a program-record 40 victories in 2016, as the Trojans finished 40-18 and as the Crossroads League regular season and tournament champions. TU defeated three top-25 teams, made its fifth appearance in the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round and ranked seventh among all baseball programs in the NAIA with a 3.33 team grade-point average.
Gould has made multiple appearances as a guest speaker at the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association. In 2008 he spoke on the topic of Effective Indoor Practice Planning, followed by Catching Drills for the Complete Catcher in 2009 and 2012.
In addition to the accomplishments on the diamond, Gould has developed a highly successful camps program at Taylor, growing the TU Baseball Camps to over 100 participants at each of three sessions in January and February.
A 2002 Taylor graduate, Gould was an all-conference catcher for the Trojans and started all four years on the baseball team, winning the then-MCC Tournament Championship in 1999.
Gould and his wife, Kate, live in Fort Wayne with their one-year old daughter, Penelope.
The 2018 season is the third for Devin Wilburn as an assistant coach on the diamond for the Trojans. Wilburn works primarily with the TU hurlers, after capping a playing career on the mound for Ball State University.
During his first season with the Trojans, Wilburn saw the TU pitching staff rank No. 16 in the NAIA in earned-run average (3.24), No. 18 in opponent batting average (.247) and No. 29 in strikeouts (388).
Prior to coming on board at Taylor, Wilburn gained various coaching roles with Selma Middle School, Monroe Central High and the Indiana Prospects 17U National Team.
As a three-year letterwinner for BSU, Wilburn worked primarily out of the bullpen for the Cardinals, closing his career in 2015 with 43 innings of work spread over 26 appearances.
Wilburn graduated from Ball State with a degree in sport administration and a minor in marketing in the spring of 2015 and completed a master’s degree from BSU in sport administration and athletic coaching education in 2016.
The 2018 campaign is the second for Chad Newhard on staff with the Trojans. Newhard assists with the TU outfielders and base runners.
During his first year with the Trojans, Taylor set a new program record with 123 stolen bases in 141 attempts for a blistering 87.2-percent rate of success. Along with setting the new school record, TU ranked No. 11 in the NAIA and tops in the Crossroads League in steals during the 2017 campaign.
Prior to joining the staff at TU, Newhard served one year as the pitching coach at Defiance College after seven years as the head coach at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he recorded the second-most wins in program history. Newhard’s Wildcat teams traditionally excelled on the base paths and ranked fourth in the NAIA, while setting a school record for stolen bases during the 2010 campaign. Newhard also coached multiple Wildcats to individual honors, highlighted by seeing a pair of players sign professional contracts and six earn All-Crossroads League accolades.
In addition to his coaching stops at Defiance and Indiana Wesleyan, Newhard has also coached at various levels with Tabor College, IPFW and Glen Oaks Community College, while also serving as an associate scout for the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.
Newhard earned a bachelor’s degree in sports studies from Grace College and was a four-year member of the baseball team for the Lancers. Newhard went on to gain a master’s degree in secondary education with a concentration in organizational leadership and supervision from IPFW.
Newhard and his wife, Karen, have a son, Nicholas, and a daughter, Selah, and currently reside in Marion.
The 2018 campaign is the 13th for Rick Atkinson as part of Gould's staff and the 15th season in the Trojan dugout. Atkinson also played for legendary head coach Jack King from 1966 through 1968 and currently works with TU's first basemen and outfielders.
Following an outstanding collegiate career as a third baseman, Atkinson signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Braves and was later inducted into the Indiana High School Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Grant County Hall of Fame in 2012.
After 38 years in education (eight at Eastbrook High, 30 at Mississinewa High), Atkinson retired in 2005. Atkinson served Mississinewa for 24 years as the athletic director and 20 years as the Indians' baseball coach.
Atkinson has served as the president of the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association and as camp director for The Central Regional Little League Headquarters in Indianapolis.
Atkinson was named the coach of the North squad in Indiana's North-South All Star series for one year and led the Anderson Lawmen and the Dubois County Dragons of the Independent Professional Baseball League for four years.
In September 2009, Atkinson was named president of the Grant County Hall of Fame.
The parents of three adult children and eight grandchildren, Rick and his wife, Sondra, reside in Gas City.
The 2018 campaign is the second for Lincoln Reed on staff with the Trojans, after closing a standout two-year career behind the plate for TU in 2016. Reed works primarily with the Taylor junior varsity program and coached a team with the Indiana Chargers during the summer of 2017.
Reed slashed .319/.409/.507 in 345 at bats for Taylor, while starting 108-of-111 games for the Purple and Gold during the 2015 and 2016 campaigns. Reed rapped out 42 extra-base hits and drove in 81 RBI, while serving as TU’s starting catcher during that time.
The honors rolled in for Reed during his two-year career on the diamond with Taylor, highlighted by Crossroads League Player-of-the-Year and NAIA Honorable Mention All-American honors. Reed also earned All-Crossroads League, Academic All-Crossroads League and NAIA Scholar-Athlete recognition in each of his two seasons.
Reed graduated from TU in May of 2017 with a degree in film and media production and is currently pursuing a master’s degree from the University of Miami (Ohio).