Coaching Staff

Kenny Niles

Head Coach – Kenny Niles

Kenny Niles is entering his 19th year as a high school baseball coach. He is currently the head coach at Churchill High School where he has lead the Lancers to 3 straight semi-final appearances. In 2017, the Lancers won the 5A State Championship with a record of 29-3. That year Niles was selected to be the head coach of the South All-Stars in the Oregon All-Star Series. The South won the series and three of his Lancers received individual honors which included: Most Outstanding South Pitcher, Most Outstanding South Player, and Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament. In his stint at Churchill Niles has had the honor of coaching over 10 All-State baseball selections. The Lancers have had the 5A State Pitcher of the Year the past 3 seasons, the 5A State Player of the Year in 2017, and Niles was selected the OACA Baseball Coach of the Year in 2017. In addition, 15 of his last 20 graduated seniors have gone on to play collegiately and this years team has 6 college committed players already. His Churchill summer team has won the Junior State Championship in 2017 and 2018 with a combined record of 55-6. Before taking over the Lancers Niles had a successful 6-year career at Sheldon High School. In 2007 he lead the Irish to the Southwest Conference title and number #1 ranking in 6A. That team was anchored by 3 Oregon State signees and 2 players that got selected in the MLB draft. The Irish were ranked in the top 50 Nationally. Niles also has coached at Mt. View, Bend, Grant Union, and Sisters High School and has received league Coach of the Year honors 4 times.

When Kenny is not at the field he is in the classroom teaching Special Education at Churchill High School. He enjoys the outdoors but particularly the summer nights in Eugene. He likes watching baseball under the lights. Kenny is married to his wife Jennifer and they have a young son, Camden Jacob (of course named after 2 baseball fields). Niles parents live in Eugene and help tremendously with the family baseball experience. You will often see his father Roy mowing the field while his mother Gail is helping chase Camden around. Family means a lot to Coach Niles and that includes the players he coaches.

Jon Guldager

Assistant Coach – Jon Guldager

Coach Guldager returns as a Challenger assistant coach this summer after serving in a similar role from 2004 – 2006, helping the Challengers to two state appearances during his three seasons. A graduate of Linfield College, where he was an all-conference and all-district first baseman, has over 30 years of coaching at the high school level in multiple sports. His career began at Elmira High School as the head coach of the Falcons from 1993 – 2007. In those 15 years, he led the Falcons to 10 state appearances and in 1995 Elmira went 22-3 losing in the quarter-finals. Jon was selected as the State of Oregon’s Coach-of-the-Year for his efforts. He went on to be the head coach at Willamette High School for the next ten years where he guided the Wolverines to the state playoffs four of those years. Over his 25 years as a head coach, he won 340 games at that time ranking him in the top 50 of all-time wins in the State of Oregon. After a summer of coaching cross-town rival Willamette Valley Titans, as their pitching coach, helping the Titans to the state tournament, Jon joined the staff at Churchill High School in the same role as their pitching coach. The Lancers attempted to defend their state title but came up just short in the semi-finals in 2018. The Lancer Pitching staff finished the season with a team ERA of 1.75. Jon just completed his 27th year working at Elmira High School as a teacher and currently as a career counselor. He is married to his wife, Christine (26 years) and has two children, Justin (22) and Ashley (19). Both Jon and Justin played for the Challengers during their high school days.

Brian Vogel

Assistant Coach – Brian Vogel

Coach Vogel graduated from Sheldon High Schooll where he was a second-team All-State Outfielder. He coached at Sheldon from 2003-2012 in various roles. He began his coaching career as the Freshman and JV coach at Sheldon from 2003-2005. He was an assistant to Kenny Niles at Sheldon from 2005-2010. From 2012-2014, Vogel was an assistant to Josh Blunt at Lane Community College where he coached hitters and outfielders.  He came back to Sheldon from 2015-2017. He is currently the head coach of the Willamette Wolverines where he has been the last two seasons. Vogel is ecstatic to coach at historic Swede Johnson Stadium where he knows his children will love watching baseball. When Vogel is not coaching baseball he loves to spend time with his children, Crystal (14) and Bentley (6). Both his children are very excited to run around Swede Johnson Stadium because they know it’s “awesome!!!”