Jake Hendrick became the third head coach to lead the Royals program in the summer of 2023 after serving as the associate head coach and pitching coach at Austin Peay University in 2022.
In his lone season with the Governors, Hendrick was a valuable leader for a program that finished 26-32 overall, and 15-15 in league play securing the No. 8 seed in the ASUN Tournament. Austin Peay bolstered an explosive pitching staff that fanned 516 batters which were fourth most in the league. The mark was only the second time in program history that the pitching staff struck out at least 500 batters. Hendrick produced three All-Conference performers, including Garrett Martin, Lyle Miller-Green, and Clayton Gray. In the classroom, the Governors turned in a 3.46 GPA placing one on the ASUN All-Academic Team.
Prior to joining Austin Peay, Hendrick spent nine seasons at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Hendrick began his career with the River Hawks as the head assistant coach and pitching coach for two seasons. In 2015, the River Hawks posted a sub-5.00 ERA (4.86) for the first time in the program's NCAA history while also setting a program record with 350 strikeouts. That season, Ryan Helsley became NSU's highest-ever draft pick after being selected in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.
The instant success opened the door for Hendrick to take over the River Hawks program in 2016. The Naperville, Illinois native led the team to its fourth consecutive trip to the MIAA Tournament with a 27-23 record. Prior to the pandemic, NSU recorded a 28-win season, marking the most wins since 2002 while playing the seventh-toughest schedule in Division 2. That unit was led by pitcher Ben Strahm, who was selected in the 23rd round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants.
The successes began mounting for Hendrick and the River Hawks in 2021 as NSU went 26-16 finishing second in the MIAA which was the highest finish in program history. Hendrick was named MIAA Coach of the Year producing 11 All-Conference players, one Gold Glove winner, one All-Region performer, and an NCAA Freshman of the Year that season. Right-handed pitcher Nic Swanson was named an ABCA Second Team All-American before being selected in the 16th round of the MLB Draft by the Houston Astros.
In his final season at the helm of the River Hawks in 2022, Hendrick led the squad to the most wins since becoming a full-time NCAA member with a 38-18 record, including their first NCAA regional berth in school history. NSU climbed into the Collegiate Baseball News Top 25 for the first time as the River Hawks were the only team in the country with 120+ home runs, 120+ doubles, and 120+ stolen bases. NSU hauled in postseason accolades earning two All-American nods, four All-Region selections, including the Region Player of the Year, and 12 All-Conference recipients, including the Conference Player of the Year. In the classroom, two River Hawks earned Academic All-American honors for the first time in program history.
Hendrick began his coaching career at Stillwater High School where he was an assistant for three seasons from 2009-12. He helped the Pioneers to a state tournament appearance in his final season. Hendrick then moved to the junior college ranks as an assistant coach at Marion Military Institute in Alabama for a season in 2013.
In addition, Hendrick spent two seasons in collegiate summer leagues in the Valley Baseball League. In 2012, he was the pitching coach for the Winchester Royals which won the North Division Regular Season Title and pennant en route to the Lineweaver Cup Playoffs. The following summer, he was an assistant coach for the Charles Town Cannons which finished second in the North Division.
Hendrick earned his bachelor's degree in business marketing with a focus in sports management from Oklahoma State University. The Illinois native completed a master's in health and human performance with a focus in sports administration from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas in 2014. Hendrick is married to Dr. Danielle Hendrick and the couple has three sons: Cooper, Cade, and Carson.