Iowa native Nic Ungs is in his fifth season as the director of baseball operations for the University of Iowa baseball program. Ungs also serves as the director of the Rick Heller Iowa Baseball Camps.
During the 2021 season, the Hawkeyes won a school-record 26 Big Ten games, finishing 26-18 overall, while facing a Big Ten-only schedule during the COVID-affected season. After starting the season 4-8, Iowa rattled off 11 wins in 12 contests and 15 in 18 games. The team won seven of their final 10 series to be in the middle of the NCAA Regional conversation at season’s end.
Friday night starter Trenton Wallace had a breakthrough season, earning second-team All-America honors by both ABCA/Rawlings and Collegiate Baseball. He also was the first Hawkeye to earn Big Ten Pitcher of the Year honors after going 7-1 with a 2.34 ERA over 73 innings and 13 starts. His 106 strikeouts were the second-most all-time behind Jim Magrane’s 110 strikeouts in 1999.
Senior Ben Norman earned first-team All-Big Ten and first-team all-region honors after leading the league in RBIs (53) and triples (4). Norman finished his career ranked in the top-11 in school history in eight different categories. Redshirt junior Izaya Fullard also earned All-Big Ten honors (third-team). Four players joined MLB organizations following the season, as Wallace and Drew Irvine were MLB Draft picks, while Norman and Jack Dreyer signed as undrafted free agents.
During the 2020 season, Iowa won 10 games in the first month, including posting victories over ranked foes No. 18 Arizona, No. 20 North Carolina, and No. 14 Duke. The Hawkeyes went 2-1 at the CambriaCollegeClassic, a tournament in Minneapolis pitting the Big Ten Conference against the ACC. The season came to an abrupt end on March 12 when it was cancelled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
During his second season in Iowa City, Ungs helped the Hawkeyes to 31 victories — the program’s sixth straight 30-win season — and a record sixth straight Big Ten Tournament appearance. Iowa won six straight series during the regular season, which included series wins over No. 23 Illinois, No. 30 Nebraska, and No. 18 UC Irvine.
The team went 10-3 against top-30 opponents in 2019, including taking two of three games at No. 19 Oklahoma State.
Redshirt junior Grant Leonard set a program saves record, converting all 14 of his chances to garner second-team All-Big Ten honors. Leonard was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason List and he finished seventh nationally in saves.
After leading the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten Tournament win over top-seeded Indiana, Friday night starter Cole McDonald was selected in the 14th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Houston Astros.
In Ung’s first season at Iowa, the Hawkeyes posted their fifth straight 30-win season, finishing 33-20 overall. Iowa posted three series wins against ranked opponents and finished with eight victories against top 25 teams. The Hawkeyes snapped seventh-ranked Michigan’s 20-game winning streak, giving the program its first win over a top 10 opponent since 2008.
The Hawkeyes had four All-Big Ten selections, including three first-team selections in Allgeyer, Tyler Cropley, and Robert Neustrom. It was the most first-team selections for the program since 1990. Cropley also earned second-team All-America honors by Collegiate Baseball, a second-team ABCA all-district nod, and was a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, an honor presented to the top collegiate catcher.
Iowa was well represented in the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft with a record-tying five selections. Neustrom was selected in the fifth round by the Baltimore Orioles, becoming the Hawkeyes’ highest position player selection since 1992. Cropley was taken in the eighth round (Washington), Allgeyer was a 12th-round pick by Toronto, Zach Daniels was selected in Round 19 by Atlanta, and Brady Schanuel in the 27th Round by Milwaukee.
Ungs joined the program after working in information technology and spending nine years as the pitching coordinator with the Georgia Bombers Baseball Club in Atlanta. He coached 45 players that went on to play Division I baseball and nine players were drafted in the 2016 and 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Drafts.
The Dyersville, Iowa, native played professionally for 11 years after being selected in the 12th round of the 2001 MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins. He played in the Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers organizations — four years at the Triple-A level and five years in Double-A. He had an 82-68 career record with a 3.79 ERA and he tossed a no-hitter in 2005.
During his first season with the Utica Blue Sox in the New York-Penn League, Ungs had 40 strikeouts without issuing a walk in 12 appearances (11 starts). Ungs had a reputation of impeccable control throughout his career, which led to him earning the title of best control in the Florida State League by Baseball America in 2003.
Ungs also played internationally in Venezuela, Taiwan, Australia, and Cuba and was a member of the United States Olympic Team in 2005 and 2006.
During his career at Northern Iowa, Ungs was named the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2001 after going 11-2 with a 2.48 ERA and finishing with 114 strikeouts to 14 walks in 109 innings. The Panthers won a school-record 35 games, claimed the MVC Conference Tournament title, and advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in program history.
Ungs also was a second-team All-American, a first-team All-Valley selection, and was later named to the MVC All-Decade team. He played under Rick Heller in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and he was a college teammate of Iowa associate head coach Marty Sutherland.
In 2015, Ungs was inducted into the Northern Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame. He graduated from Northern Iowa in 2001 with a degree in general studies. He and his wife, Whitney, reside in Iowa City with their Bernedoodle Nash.