Nick Harlan | Associate Head Coach / Pitching Coach
Nick Harlan was hired at the University of Central Arkansas as the associate head coach and pitching coach in August 2013. Harlan joined the Bears after nine seasons as the head coach at York College in York, Nebraska. One year under Harlan’s leadership, UCA pitchers put together a great effort and notched a 3.58 ERA while helping the Bears earn a spot in the Southland Tournament Championship Game.
Harlan believes baseball is a great platform to teach disciplines that will build character and encourage young men to live with purpose. He believes that creating a culture of selflessness and accountability for consistent effort and competitiveness from his pitching staff will lead to success on the field and in life. “If we focus on the process of being the best men, teammates, and pitchers every day, we will make a greater impact on the people around us and give our team a chance for success.” Harlan said.
Harlan was hired in 2004 as the head coach at York College. During Harlan’s tenure the Panthers won 5 conference championships, and earned 5 regional berths. During that time the Panthers were ranked as high as 8th in the country and in the top 25 for four consecutive years. In 2013, the Panthers earned a #1 seed in the Jolliet, Ill regional, winning the regional and advancing to the NAIA World Series.
Harlan was a two time MCAC Coach of the Year and in 2013 was named the York College Young Alumnus of the Year. In 2013 the NAIA awarded York College baseball with the Hank Burbridge Champions of Character award. The award is given to one team in the nation who exemplifies the 5 core values of the NAIA: Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship, and Servant Leadership.
In 2003 Harlan was given the opportunity to go back to his alma mater as an assistant coach for one year under head coach Jerry Laird. Harlan began his coaching career in 2002 as an assistant coach under head coach Jedd Soto at Feather River Community College in Quincy, CA where he helped lead the Golden Eagles to their first California Final Four appearance and were awarded the California Pepsi Team Scholar Award for a cumulative team grade point average of 3.4. During this time he also served as an Associate Scout for the Philadelphia Phillies under Scott Ramsey.
Harlan was born in Oroville, California where he graduated from Oroville High School. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from York College.
Harlan married the former Lindsay Spivey, a UCA alum, on July 26, 2014 in Little Rock, AR. Nick and Lindsay share a home with their two dogs Jesse and Ollie.
Jon Mark Abbey | Volunteer Assistant
Jon Mark Abbey, from Paris, Texas enters into his first season as a voluntary assistant pitching coach with the University of Central Arkansas baseball team. Abbey is coming from Central Baptist College where he was an assistant pitching coach. The 2016 Mustangs in their inaugural season in the American Midwest Conference went (45-16) with a Conference Championship and the school’s first NAIA Regional appearance.
Prior to Central Baptist College Abbey spent the 2015 season as a graduate assistant pitching coach for the Southern Arkansas baseball team, where the Muleriders won the Great American Conference Championship and appeared in the NCAA Division II Regionals with an overall record of (40-18). Before spending the 2012 and 2013 seasons as a pitcher on the Muleriders’ staff, both ending in Great American Conference Championships and NCAA Division II Regional appearances, Abbey pitched at Paris Junior College.
In his senior season of 2013, Abbey went 8-3 and led the all SAU starters in ERA (2.81), opponent's batting average (.254), fewest walks (14), and shutouts (2). Additionally, Abbey would be honored with the ABCA/Rawlings Central Region Gold Glove Award at pitcher as well as being named to the Capital One Academic All-America® Second-Team. After his standout senior campaign on the mound, Abbey signed to play professionally with the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League.
Overall in two years at SAU, Abbey was 12-5 with a 3.56 ERA. In 134.0 career innings, Abbey walked just 23 batters and limited opponents to a .268 batting average against.
Abbey has an Associate of Science degree from Paris Junior College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Performance, Recreation and Community Service, Sports Management from SAU and a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology-Coaching from SAU.
Jon Mark is married to Jami (Tucker) of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Jon Mark and Jami met while attending school at SAU and were married on July 18, 2015. Jami is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of Central Arkansas where her dream job is to work with Olympic athletes.
Justin Cunningham | Volunteer Assistant
Justin Cunningham, from Wichita, Kansas, enters his first season at the University of Central Arkansas. Cunningham joined the Bears after being a head coach at TCS Post Grad Academy in Texas.
Coach Cunningham has had success building baseball programs and developing players after two successful head coaching stints. His first head coaching job, at the age of 26, was at Central Christian College in McPherson, Kansas. In only two seasons, Cunningham helped the program set the school record in wins. The second head coaching job involved starting a baseball program at TCS in McKinney, Texas, from the beginning stages. The program competes at the junior college level, and has successfully defeated nationally ranked junior colleges. At the program’s core is player development on and off the field. In three years, the program has successfully sent players to college and professional ranks, including the 2017 NJCAA national player of the year and a player drafted in the 2016 MLB draft.
Prior to being a head coach, Cunningham coached for two years at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, as the recruiting coordinator. In the first year, they won the NCCAA national championship and finished runner-up in the second year as well as being in the top 10 in NAIA in multiple offensive categories. The team set the school record in wins in both years.
Prior to Oklahoma Wesleyan, Cunningham coached for one year at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. For two summers, Cunningham coached with a collegiate summer team, the El Dorado Broncos, which played in the prestigious Jayhawk Conference. In 2009, the Broncos had a 41-9 record and won the NBC World Series National Championship.
Cunningham earned a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Business Administration and Economics at Lyon College in 2009. While at Lyon, he was the first player in school history to hit for the cycle. He also was a two-time Academic All-American and received the Lyon College Champions of Character Award. After graduating from Lyon College, Cunningham went on to earn a master's degree in Sports Administration from Henderson State University.
Cunningham is married to the former Whitney Mullins of Wichita, Kansas. They have two sons, Conner and Brendan.