Hawkeyes hire Heller to take over baseball

IOWA CITY – The Iowa Hawkeyes have chosen a familiar coach to help resurrect their baseball program.

Iowa announced Friday that former Northern Iowa coach Rick Heller has been hired to replace Jack Dahm.

Heller, a native of Eldon, will leave Indiana State after four straight winning seasons. Heller had previously spent 10 seasons at Northern Iowa, winning 270 games before the school dropped baseball after the 2009 season.

Heller played at Upper Iowa and later spent 12 seasons as its coach.

“He has a plan that transfers well to Iowa. Rick knows the state of Iowa, and Iowa knows Rick. His roots run deep, and he has earned the trust and respect of the baseball community in the state, as well as across the country,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said.

Heller will be facing quite the challenge at Iowa though.

Even though the Hawkeyes are the only Division I program left in the state, they’ve yet to discover the consistent success that’s eluded the program for decades.

Dahm was fired in May after 10 seasons and just three trips to the Big Ten tournament.

The Hawkeyes went 22-27 last season, their fifth losing one in six years.

“The opportunity to come back to the state and the challenge of turning the Iowa baseball program into a championship-caliber team is something I’ve dreamed about,” Heller said.