Courtesy: Bradley University
Just the fifth Bradley Baseball coach since 1921 and the 15th head coach overall for the Braves, Elvis Dominguez has orchestrated a program resurgence in his eight years at the program’s helm.
With 26 years of college coaching experience, Dominguez, 53, has guided Bradley Baseball through a steady rise in his first eight years on The Hilltop, culminating with the program's first NCAA Regionals appearance in nearly 40 years in 2015. Dominguez has guided Bradley Baseball to an improved record in five of his first eight seasons, but he took that ascendancy to a new level in 2015, when Bradley used the nation's No. 19 RPI to earn an at-large selection and the No. 2 seed for the NCAA Baseball Championship Louisville Regional. Bradley's 36 wins in 2015 were the most by the Braves since 1996 (40-22). While the regional appearance was Bradley's first since 1968, its 9-4 win against Morehead State May 30, 2015 in Louisville was its first postseason victory since the 1956 College World Series.
The Braves followed up on their 2015 success by posting a 29-21 overall record in 2016 and finishing alone in third place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with an 11-10 league record. With a top three seed in the MVC Baseball Championship in consecutive years for the first time since 1986 (3rd) and 1987 (2nd), Bradley advanced to the final day of the MVC Tournament in consecutive years for the first time since 1971-72.
In a career that also includes seven seasons (2002-08) as the head coach at Eastern Kentucky University, Dominguez has recruited and coached 10 players that advanced to the Major Leagues, 25 All-Americans and four conference players of the year.
In his first eight years at Bradley, the Braves have produced a national batting champion (Mike Tauchman, 2013), two All-Americans (Tauchman and Matt Dennis), five Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-Americans and 33 All-Missouri Valley Conference selections. In addition, 11 Braves have been drafted by Major League organizations, all within the first 27 rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, in Dominguez’s first eight years and RHP Rob Scahill has appeared in the Big Leagues each of the last five seasons with the Colorado Rockies (2012-14) and Pittsburgh Pirates (2015-16).
Eight of his Eastern Kentucky players also were drafted by Major League organizations, including a trio of Colonels selected within the first seven rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Of particular note, 2008 OVC Pitcher of the Year Christian Friedrich was the 25th overall selection by the Colorado Rockies in the first round of the 2008 draft.
Dominguez expects as much of his players off the field as on, as evidenced by his teams' performance in the classroom. In 2008, his Eastern Kentucky squad boasted the top NCAA Academic Progress Rate (960) of any NCAA Division I team in the state of Kentucky and ranked among the 80th percentile of all Division I teams in the nation. In addition, his EKU teams posted at least a 3.0 grade point average in each of his last five years, including a 12-year-best 3.1 mark during the 2007 fall semester.
That kind of academic discipline has followed Dominguez to Bradley, where his players have combined for 292 appearances on the school's Athletic Director's Honor Roll for posting a minimum 3.0 semester grade point average in his first 16 semesters with the Braves. The Braves have completed both the 2015 and 2016 spring grading periods with at least a 3.0 cumulative team GPA, while simultaneously enjoying their breakthrough success on the field.
Dominguez begins his 16th year as a collegiate head coach with a 370-432-3 career record, including a 192-223-1 mark in his first eight seasons at Bradley. During those eight years, the Braves have improved their record from the previous year to the next five times and Bradley also has improved its MVC record five teams, including each of the last three years.
Dominguez's journey to Bradley is an amazing example of fulfilling the "Great American Dream." Dominguez was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, but fled the country with his family as a child in settled in Miami. A standout baseball player, Dominguez put his athletic talents to good use by earning a baseball scholarship to Creighton University, helping him become the first member of his family to attend, and ultimately graduate, college. He earned his bachelor's degree from Creighton in secondary education in 1986.
A four-year starter at shortstop for the Bluejays, Dominguez led the team with a .348 batting average as a senior.
Following graduation, Dominguez began his coaching career with the Bluejays in 1986-87 by serving as a graduate assistant for then Creighton head coach Jim Hendry, who is now a special assistant to New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and previously worked as the Vice President and General Manager of the Chicago Cubs.
After being promoted to a full-time assistant coach during his second year on the Creighton staff, Dominguez earned his first head-coaching job in 1988 as Omaha Central High School's varsity baseball coach. He returned to Creighton in the fall of 1992 as the Bluejays' top assistant, working as the infield instructor and hitting coach for five seasons (1993-97). Dominguez also served as Creighton's coordinator for recruiting, scheduling and academic advising, while also assisting with budget management and fundraising.
Dominguez left Creighton in the summer of 1997 to join the coaching staff at the University of Iowa, where he again served as the infield and hitting instructor through the 2001 campaign. During his four years with the Hawkeyes, Dominguez also was responsible for scheduling, recruiting and fund-raising. In his role as recruiting coordinator, Dominguez's first class at Iowa produced two All-Americans.
In a similar scenario to his appointment at Bradley, Dominguez replaced longtime Eastern Kentucky head coach Jim Ward in the summer of 2001. He compiled a 178-199-2 overall record in his seven years with the Colonels, but after enduring a 15-40 record in his first season in 2002, Dominguez's teams were 163-159-2 the last six years, including a 2-games-to-1 series win against Bradley March 1-2, 2008. The 2003 Colonels finished second nationally with 131 steals, while his 2004 squad went 34-17, led the nation in batting average (.375) and doubles (137), and finished second nationally with a .551 slugging percentage.
Dominguez previously worked as an associate scout for the Texas Rangers during his high school coaching days from 1989-92 and he coordinated the NCAA YES Camp program during the College World Series from 1992-97.
Dominguez and his wife, Mary Pat, are the parents of three children, Breanne, Brooke and Christian. The latter is a sophomore member of the 2017 Bradley Baseball team.