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Former Major Leaguer and Purdue Calumet Grad Will Lead Team in Inaugural Season

03/30/2012 10:27 AM -

Whiting, IN - The Northwest Indiana Oilmen of the Midwest Collegiate League announced that former Kansas City Royals Pitcher and Purdue Calumet alumni Justin Huisman will be their first Manager of the new collegiate summer league club.  Huisman will be given the task of assembling the first-ever group of Oilmen to take the field this June at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Indiana


Huisman began his baseball career at the University of Mississippi as an infielder/pitcher, earning Honorable Mention All-American honors as a freshman while setting single-season and career school records in saves.


In 2000, Huisman’s professional career took flight when he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 15th Round of the June, 2000 First Year Player Draft.  He spent time at numerous levels of the Rockies development system, earning South Atlantic League (Single-A) All-Star honors in 2001 with the Ashville (NC) Tourists and Carolina League (Advanced Single-A) All-Star recognition in 2002 for the Salem (VA) Avalanche.  In 2003, he advanced to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, where he was named to the Texas League All-Star and Baseball America Double-A All-Star Teams while setting the Drillers single-season record for saves.


Huisman was traded to the Kansas City Royals organization in 2004, beginning the season with the Triple-A Omaha Royals before receiving a call to the Major League Royals on April 25, 2004.


Since ending his professional career, Huisman earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue Calumet University and has shifted his focus to coaching, first as Assistant Coach for Concordia University in Chicago, then as an Assistant, and now Head Coach, for Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois. 


"We feel very fortunate to have a baseball professional with the credentials of Justin Huisman leading the Oilmen in this first season," said Team President and Owner Don Popravak.  "He brings a wealth of baseball knowledge to the table and also understands the importance the Oilmen will play in the many communities of Northwest Indiana.  We are proud to call Justin an Oilman and are excited to see what he does with the team this year."


The Northwest Indiana Oilmen will take to the field, under Huisman, this June at the new Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Indiana.  The Oilmen will be made up of some of the top collegiate baseball players from around the country, and from the Midwest, in their first taste of professional-level, wood bat baseball before advancing to their own professional careers in the minor leagues.


Huisman stated, “I’m extremely excited and looking forward to managing the Northwest Indiana Oilmen’s inaugural season. Some of my best memories of my playing days came from my time in summer baseball. It’s a great opportunity for potential professional players to further their skills against tough competition, get to know other players from all over the country, and enjoy themselves in the process.  My goal is to bring the Northwest Indiana fans a team that can compete from our first day and create a fun atmosphere for the players as they work hard in reaching the goals they’ve set out for themselves this summer.  I appreciate the opportunity and can’t wait to get going!”


For more information on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen and to sign up for e-mail alerts, visit the team's website at