By Jason Pugh, Northwestern State Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State baseball team did not have to look too far to find the 13th head coach in program history.
Chris Bertrand, who has served as the Demons’ associate head coach since 2022 and been a part of the staff since 2017, has been promoted to head coach Monday, taking over for Bobby Barbier, who became the head coach at Southeastern Louisiana.
Bertrand will be introduced to the media and to Northwestern State fans at a 2 p.m. Tuesday news conference inside the Stroud Room in the Donald G. Kelly Athletic Fieldhouse. The news conference will stream free throughwww.NSUDemons.com.
“Maintaining the continuity of leadership at the top of our program was an important piece of this decision,” NSU Director of Athletics Kevin Bostian said. “Coupled with his experience and the success he had at UT Tyler, it made sense for us to promote coach Bertrand to head coach. He has handled so many roles within the program and has developed relationships that have been instrumental in the success of Demon baseball – on and off the field. Keeping him, Lori and their children, Rayleigh and Callen, will keep Northwestern State baseball positioned for success.”
Bertrand has spent the past seven seasons on the Demon staff, arriving when Barbier took over for Lane Burroughs following the 2016 season.
In his seven seasons at NSU, Bertrand has worked with virtually every position group and handled numerous on- and off-field duties.
In his second season with the Demons, Bertrand was part of a coaching staff that led Northwestern State to the first Southland Conference Tournament championship in program history. That season, Bertrand worked primarily with NSU’s infielders – a group that was instrumental in turning the second-most double plays in school history (70) and ranked second nationally in double plays per game (1.13) and third in total double plays.
Bertrand was in charge of the Northwestern State offense in the 2023 season, a year in which the Demons hit the most home runs (61) in school single-season history.
Prior to arriving in Natchitoches, Bertrand spent four seasons as the head coach at UT Tyler, leading the Patriots to three American Southwest Conference championships and three NCAA Division III Tournament appearances.
Bertrand, 40, posted a 119-69 record with the Patriots, coaching six all-region players in his final two seasons and the 2015 ASC Newcomer of the Year Jaime Paxton. A number of players Bertrand recruited were key pieces of UT Tyler’s 2018 NCAA Division III College World Series championship team.
“The opportunity to lead Demon baseball is one of the greatest and most humbling honors of my career,” Bertrand said. “It is not lost on me the great men who have sat in that chair. I want to thank (Northwestern State President) Dr. (Marcus) Jones and Kevin Bostian for this incredible show of trust. I look forward to working with them to continue to build upon the legacy of this program. We are going to work hard, we are going to work smart and we are going to pour ourselves into the daily quest for the success of this program. I look forward to seeing everyone at the ballpark, and as always, fork ’em Demons.”
The Patriots’ 34-12 record in the 2015 season led to Bertrand and his staff being named the ASC Coaching Staff of the Year. Invested in his players off the field as well, Bertrand coached 13 Academic All-ASC selections to go along with 41 all-conference and eight all-region selections in his four-year tenure.
Prior to his time at UT Tyler, Bertrand spent seven seasons on staff at LSU-Shreveport, helping the Pilots reach consecutive NAIA World Series in 2011 and 2012. As the Pilots’ pitching coach, Bertrand helped the 2012 LSUS staff set school records for shutouts (13), ERA (3.10) and strikeouts (476) with the strikeout mark still standing.
Right-hander Jared Mortensen, the ace of that staff, spent time in the Houston Astros’ organization and was a first-team All-American – one of 10 first-team all-conference pitchers during Bertrand’s LSUS tenure.
An Abbeville native, Bertrand has professional baseball experience as an associate scout with the Kansas City Royals.
He is married to the former Lori Quigley of Shreveport and the couple has two children, daughter Rayleigh and son Callen.