Langhorne, PA – On Monday afternoon Cairn University named Phill Shallenberger as the new skipper for the Highlanders' baseball program. Shallenberger was named head coach after working with the program as an assistant coach in 2014 and 2015. Most recently, Shallenberger was a graduate manager with Division I Belmont for the 2016 season.
"I am very excited to have Phill back on the Highlander Athletics staff," said Cairn Athletic Director Laura Behnke on Monday. "Phill is a great fit for Cairn, he brings tremendous experience and knowledge to this position. It is his desire to honor Christ by developing men of integrity, humility, and discipline, that demonstrates his dynamic leadership abilities."
Shallenberger is set to rejoin the Highlanders later this summer, and will be in place for the non-traditional fall season.
"I'm so excited to be back at Cairn," said Shallenberger on Monday, "The people are a huge reason why I wanted to come back. Cairn is full of great people and is a great place to work with and mentor young adults."
A 2010 graduate of Geneva College, Shallenberger was a four-year baseball player for the Golden Tornado splitting time between shortstop and the mound. Shallenberger was Geneva's everyday shortstop and also served as the team's closer. After finishing his time on the field, Shallenberger stayed on the bench for Geneva launching his coaching career as a Graduate Assistant Coach in 2011.
After completing his Master's Degree in Higher Education from Geneva in 2013, Shallenberger made the move to Langhorne and was an assistant coach under Jan Haas for two years working primarily with the pitching staff. After the 2015 season Shallenberger went to Belmont and served as a graduate manager for the 2016 season before being named the Highlander's head coach.
"Just being around the program and the coaching staff at Belmont taught me so much. I saw how important it is to pay attention to the details and to keep each other accountable," said Shallenberger of his time in Nashville.
Shallenberger will take over a Highlander team that had their most successful season in team history. In 2016 the Highlanders notched a program-record, 19 regular-season wins and also set a new program-high for conference victories in a season with five.
"One of the biggest factors in coming back was just seeing how close the program was to taking the next step during my time here," said Shallenberger. "We knew at any moment we were going to turn that corner and last season the program really did. This group has a great blend of young talent and upperclassmen that have great leadership abilities."
Beyond the diamond, Shallenberger views his new role as a tremendous opportunity to mentor and help develop young men toward meaningful lives after they graduate.
"I love mentoring young men and building relationships, I love seeing a freshman coming in as young, 18 year-olds and over the course of their time in the program grow and eventually leave as a well-developed young-men. That's the thing I'm most excited about, seeing that maturation process over their four years and have them represent Christ as young men after they are done playing baseball at Cairn."
In addition to leading the baseball program, Shallenberger will also oversee intramural and recreation activities at Cairn.