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Dan Hartleb wins record-519th game with Illinois Baseball

Nearly 150 years of Illini baseball, and Hartleb sits alone.

Illinois Baseball head coach Dan Hartleb sits alone.

Hartleb earned his 519th career win with the Illini on Sunday against Michigan, 11-1. With the victory Hartleb passes Lee Eilbracht for the most wins in program history.

D1Baseball’s Big Ten Coach of the Decade for the 2010s, Hartleb has been one of the most consistent leaders in the conference since taking over Illinois in 2005. He had previously served as an assistant on the Illini’s staff since 1991 under Itch Jones.

Hartleb’s most memorable season came in 2015, when the Illini won 50 games and made it to Super Regionals. Illinois’ four regional appearances during the 2010s were also the most of any team in the conference in the decade.

Since 2005, Illinois has just one season under .500 (2017), and Hartleb would have certainly achieved this mark at least a year earlier if the 2020 season wasn’t shortened by COVID-19 (Illinois played just 13 games before the campaign was suspended).

The 57-year-old Ohio native received a four-year contract extension in November, keeping him with the program through at least the 2027 season.

“Dan Hartleb embodies Illinois Baseball,” said Athletic Director Josh Whitman at the time. “He is an intense competitor, a teacher of fundamentals and an established leader. He and his family are stalwarts of the local community, and Dan has grown into a very influential voice within our program. We are fortunate to have him continuing to lead our baseball student-athletes to even greater heights in the years ahead.”

Just to put it all in context, Illinois Baseball played its first season in 1879 — 144 years ago.

Of note, a cool story this week from The News-Gazette, speaking with Eilbracht’s family, who has been rooting for Hartleb to break the record.

“My Dad, knowing the classy guy he was, would have been the first in line to congratulate Dan Hartleb,” said Kurt Eilbracht, Lee’s son.

Eilbracht coached from 1952-78 – 27 seasons! — while it’s taken Hartleb just 16 full seasons (as well as the shortened 2020 season and the start of 2023).

Congrats to Coach Hartleb!