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RHINO STAFF - ILLINOIS BASEBALL

GREG BLAESING

President
Greg founded the Rhino program in 2012 and is the President of Rhino Sports Academy. Greg’s focus for each Rhino player is not only to help them become the best players they can be, but more importantly to help them understand the importance of becoming great men that are strong and loving husbands and dads as well as leaders in their communities. Greg resides in Lockport with his wife April and their two children, Maddie and Lucas.

Greg attended Lockport Township High School where he was a catcher and center outfielder. During his time there he was a three-time All-Conference player and was named to the Chicago Tribune All-State and IHSBCA All State teams his senior year.

After graduation from Lockport, Greg attended Illinois State University where he was a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, 4 year letter winner and a 3 year team captain.

After college, Greg played for the Gateway Grizzlies in the Frontier League.

Greg has coached and developed numerous Division I players over his coaching career and has also been at the helm of nationally ranked high school teams while at Rhino Baseball. He was also head coach for Team Illinois for the Prospect Games which is comprised of many of the top players from Illinois.

ANDREW TEHAKO

Recruiting Coordinator
Andrew Tehako is one of the owners of Rhino Baseball as well as handles the college recruiting for its high school program.

He has helped hundreds of Rhino players go onto play baseball collegiately. 
 
Since 2012 Andrew has built a network of college coaches across the country. These relationships span across all division levels and includes such conference such as the SEC, BIG10, Horizon, Pac 12, MVC and OVC to name a few. 
Coaching for over a decade, Andrew has been fortunate enough to coach numerous DI players including those playing in the ACC, Big East, and Big12 conferences.
 
In high school, Andrew played both baseball and football, while winning a state championship in the latter. He also played summer ball for the Everest Merchants in the Dairyland League. 
 
Andrew currently resides in Manhattan with his wife Mallory, daughters Abigel and Wren and son Declan. 

CRAIG TOMCZAK

Director of Player Development & Director of Hitting
Craig has nearly 2 decades with of experience coaching at the high school level.

His coaching career started as an assistant at Waubonsie Valley High School. He then was hired by IHSBCA Hall of Fame member Jim Schmid to start the program at Metea Valley HS.

In 9 years of being the head coach at the varsity level, Craig compiled a 181-130 record, winning 2 Regional titles, competing in 1 sectional find and finishing in the top 3 of the Upstate 8 and DuPage Valley Conferences 5 times.

During his tenure at Metea Valley, Tomczak has had the pleasure of coaching: 1 All-Midwest Region Nomination, 4 PBR All-State Nominations, 5 IHSBCA All-State Nominations, 50 All-Area Nominations, 43 All-Conference Nominations, 4 IHSBCA Academic All-State Nominations, 155 Academic All-Conference Nominations, and 20 Coaches Association Junior All-Stars.

Craig played at North Central College where he played for Ed Mathey and was an all conferences player his senior year.

Currently Craig resides in Plainfield with his wife Jenny and sons Keegan and Grayson.

Jake Godfrey

Director of Pitching and Director of Camps

Jake grew up in New Lenox, IL, where he attended Providence Catholic. He was an All-State pitcher at Providence and a State title winner in 2014. He was then drafted out of high school in the 21st round to the Atlanta Braves in the 2014 MLB Draft.

After forgoing professional baseball, Jake attended Louisiana State University. At LSU, he became a starting pitcher for the Tigers and was a part of the 2015 run to Omaha, posting a 7-1 record as a freshman. He then transferred to Northwest Florida State Junior College for one season, playing in the prestigious Panhandle Conference. He then went on to sign back to Division I baseball with Arizona State, where he finished out his last two remaining seasons starting and relieving for the Sun Devils. He became a captain his senior season at ASU in 2018. He graduated from ASU in the summer of 2018. After college, Jake played independent baseball for the Southern IL Miners, where he finished his playing career.

Since 2020, Jake has been the Varsity pitching coach for the Providence Catholic Baseball team. Since 2020, Providence has sent, on average, over a pitcher a year to Division I baseball, as well as sending multiple others to colleges all over the country.

Over the last 8 years, Jake has been coaching and instructing pitching privately and on the travel baseball circuit. He has worked with multiple travel organizations across the State, sending players all over the country to play college baseball.

JAKE ROBERTS

Hitting, Pitching, Infield and Catching Instructor
Jake played high school ball at Plainfield South and was a four year starter at shortstop while earning All-Conference award twice.

Collegiately Jake played at Gonzaga University, transitioning to a catcher, where he was Second Team All-WCC and WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention.

After Gonzaga, Jake was signed to the LA Dodgers system as a free agent and played for World Series winning manger Dave Roberts.

Jake is also a collegiate pitching coach for Joliet Junior College where he helped lead the team to the 2023 NJCAA DIII World Series.

DAVE MACDONALD

Pitching Instructor
Dave attended Illinois State University from 2000-2004 graduating with a degree in Physical Education.

While at ISU Dave was a relief/starting pitcher for the Redbirds for 4 years.

In his freshman year Dave made the 2002 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team and appeared in 20 games for the Redbirds collecting 2 saves and 2 wins with a 3.93 ERA.

Recently, Dave was the Head Pitching Coach for Metea Valley High School. During his tenure at Metea he produced 11 All-Conference, 4 All-Area and 2 All-State pitchers. In his last season his staff went 22-9 with 6 saves. They walked 77 and struck out 192 with a 2.53 ERA.

Before Metea Valley, Dave was an assistant sophomore and assistant varsity baseball coach at Neuqua Valley High School for 4 years where he worked with the pitching staff and helped coach the Wildcats to the state baseball title in 2007.

Dave resides in Downers Grove with his wife Melisa and his two children, Jack and Evelyn.

Jason Vitas

Hitting and Infield Instructor

Jason was an assistant coach under Wayne King at Joliet Junior college for 6 years where he was a part of three National Tournament appearances including a National Championship in 2008.

From there Jason became an assistant coach at Providence Catholic HS for 13 years alongside Mark Smith. While coaching infielders and base runners at Providence, he helped produce 10 DI infielders and 4 MLB Draft picks.

In 2016 Jason was names IHSBCA Assistant Coach of the Year and won state titles in ’14, ’15 and ’16.

Previously in the travel ball side of things, Jason served as Director of Operations for the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Facility and also for Cangelosi Baseball.

Currently Jason is our 7u head coach where he coaches his son Easton.

DJ VARNEY

Hitting Instructor

From 2010-2014 DJ attended West Aurora High School where he was a 4 year all-academic, 1st team all-conference and team captain. 

From there, he went onto play at Elgin Community College as a two way player. While at ECC he had a .423 average and a 1.056 OPS. DJ was awareded all-academic and 1st team all region while at ECC. 

DJ committed to Illinois State but had his colegiate career cut short due to injuries. 

Over the past few years DJ has coached at Batter Up Training Center in Bloomington and joined the Rhino Staff in the summer of 2020. 

Kevin DeFilippis

Hitting and Infield Instructor
Kevin attended Providence Catholic HS where he was named to the first team All-Illinois High School Coaches Association and received the Stevie Bajenski Tournament Award.

From there, Kevin played collegiately for the University of Notre Dame where he played in 52 games for the Fighting Irish and was a utility infielder seeing time at all infield positions except first base.

MIKE HUGHES

Operations Manager and Youth Coordinator
Mike has been with the Rhino Baseball program since its first year in 2012.

He has been an assistant or head coach at every age level from the age of 8u to 18u.

Seeing the world of travel baseball at the youth level that spans nearly a decade, Mike is encompassed with the responsibility of being a helping hand for both coaches and parents alike.

Mike oversees the day to day communication and scheduling for the program.

Joe Giarrante

Hitting, Fielding & Pitching Instructor
Joe has over 10 years of high school coaching experience and is currently the Head Baseball Coach at Oswego High School.

His coaching career started at Oswego High School as a freshman assistant coach and then became the varsity pitching coach for five years prior to obtaining the head coaching position in 2017.

Joe has helped the Panthers to 1 Regional Title and 1 Sectional Title while creating a highly competitive program in the Southwest Prairie Conference. During his coaching career, Joe has coached numerous college players and continues to share his knowledge to help grow player development.

As a player Joe was an all-state pitcher for Minooka High School and holds numerous records as a four year varsity pitcher. After high school he went onto play collegiately at Eastern Illinois University where he was a relief/starting pitcher for the 1999 OVC Conference Champions and NCAA Regional Finalists.

Currently Joe resides in Plainfield with his wife Amanda and two children Ava and Dominic.

COLE BELLAIR

Pitching Instructor
Cole is a Lockport graduate and played professional ball with the Windy City Thunderbolts and had his contract recently purchased by the Minnesota Twins.

He started his collegiate career with the University of Illinois. While there he was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team and started his career with 17 scoreless innings.

Cole then finished his last two years at Tennessee Wesleyan where he struck out 84 and only walked 19 his senior year. He capped off his college career by being the winning pitcher in the NAIA National Championship.

Over his summers Cole also pitched for the Rockford Rivets in the Northwoods League.

Hassan Stevenson

Director of Speed, Strength and Agility

Born on Chicago’s south side, Hassan Stevenson is a passionate and knowledgeable fitness professional specializing in all aspects of Athletic Performance Training. He is an innovative communicator focused on the mastery of techniques necessary to improve all aspects of athletic performance, most important being mental strength.

Coach Stevenson has worked with athletes, and teams in many different sports during his fitness career that began in 1999. Most notably he was Speed & Strength coach for the Lewis University Women’s Basketball Team that was part of the biggest win/loss turnaround in school and GLVC Conference history. Over his three seasons as Speed & Strength Coach for the team their record was 78-15.

Hassan lives in Crest Hill, IL and enjoys helping people reach their fitness goals, teaching group exercise and athletic performance classes, performing community outreach, and mentoring as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He is a 1994 graduate of Eastern Illinois University where he was a member of the Track and Football teams. He played semi-pro football from 1995-2005.

MAT RATHBUN

Pitching Instructor

Mat played collegiately for North Central College where he was a starting pitcher and two-time team captain for the nationally ranked Cardinals. He Remains on North Central’s record books with a 3.49 career ERA.

Additionally, Mat pitched for Team USA and the Pan Am Junior Olympic games in Aruba.

Prior to joining Rhino, Mat served as a youth pitching coach in the East Cobb Baseball Organization coaching both the East Cobb Astros and East Cobb Braves.

Mat resides in Plainfield with his wife Sarah, daughter Mackenzie, and son Max.

MAC MAC MCARTHUR

Hitting, Infield & Outfield Instructor

Mac Mac started his collegiate career at Kirkwood CC and then finished at Missouri Baptist University.

While at MBU he was selected to the Second Team All Conference in the AMC.

After college General has been playing professionally for the last few years including stops in the Frontier League for the Lake Erie Crushers, the Windy City Thunderbolts and currently the Chicago Dogs.

Jacob Geiger

Director of Analytics and Pitching Instructor

Jacob, a Plainfield East alumni, pitched at Illinois Institute of Technology. 

While there, he received his Bachelor of Science in Applied Analytics. As a student-athlete, Jacob developed an excel program that used pitch by pitch data to assist the coaching staff with scouting, player development and player analysis. 

Jacob has coached on the travel ball circuit for a number of years and has focused much of his passion of analytics towards bettering players through technology. 

Over the years Jacob has gained valuable experience in baseball technology such as FlightScope, Rapsodo, Blast Motion and Diamond Kinetics.

Jacob also was an assistant coach for Illinois Institute of Technology and works for Primetime Tournaments.

Hunter Hrycyk

Director of Catching

Hunter, a Bolingbrook alumni, played collegiately at the University of Dubuque and Joliet Junior College. 

He has coached on the travel side for a number of years and is also head coach of the Joliet Catholic freshman team.

Recently, Hunter was hired by the Joliet Slammers to be their bullpen catcher along with BP thrower.