Meet the Athletic Department
The primary goal and job of our coaches at Grace Brethren is to teach our athletes to love God and people. Sports is not just about winning and losing but about teaching young men and women life skills that will enable them to serve their God, family, church and community more effectively. All of our coaches share this common goal and seek to achieve it through the integration of Biblical principles within their specific disciplines. Grace Brethren coaches also have a desire to do everything with excellence, and have a solid tradition of building winning programs with numerous State, Section, County and League awards.
RJ Blackwell, Jr/Sr High Athletic Director
I married the love of my life in 2008, and we have 2 children together. I am passionate about the discipleship of our students at Grace Brethren and how athletics can be used as a tool in this process. I became a Lancer in 1988 as a preschooler, and graduated from the Senior High School in 2002. As an athlete at Grace, I was on four CIF championship teams, and earned eight varsity letters in baseball and football. The lessons I learned as a student-athlete at Grace Brethren prepared me for my times as a college athlete, marine, husband, and father. Because I understand firsthand how being a Lancer can change lives, I am unbelievably excited and privileged to walk this journey with our student athletes.
Vince has enjoyed a very successful coaching career.
- 2017 Tri valley League Coach of the Year
- 2015 & 2016 CIF Coach of the Year
- 2016, 2015 & 2011 Frontier League Coach of the Year
Coach Heerdt comes to Grace after coaching stops at San Diego Christian College, Heritage Christian, Taft High School, ASAP Baseball and The Factory. Brock was a 4 year letter man at Santa Clarita Christian while earning Heritage League MVP and All CIF First Team honors as a catcher and pitcher. Coach Heerdt continued his playing career and education at The Masters College as a pitcher in 2009 before transferring to San Diego Christian College to play his final 3 years as a Closer and received his Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology in 2013. Prior to his Senior season SDC, Brock was invited to play for the Wisconsin Woodchucks in the Northwoods League, one of the nations top two collegiate baseball leagues. After graduation, Heerdt played for the San Diego Force in the CS World Series which led to a professional baseball contract with the Hawaii Stars. Due to injury, Coach Heerdt hung up the spikes in 2014 and began his coaching career.
Josh Henderson was raised in Fontana, California where he played football under coaching legend Dick Bruich at Fontana High School. From there he received a full ride scholarship to play linebacker at Azusa Pacific University where he broke the single season tackling record and is now in APU’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He immediately entered the coaching world as a grad assistant at APU for one year, and then moved on to a head coach position. Coach Henderson has been leading high school football teams since 1998 with the team philosophy of “God First”, using football as a vehicle to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and to equip players to grow into their role as Christian men. Coach Henderson’s teams have won 12 League Championships, 3 CIF Championships, 1 CIF SS Regional 2A Championship, and 1 State 2A Runner Up. Coach has been named League Coach of the Year 10 times, CIF Coach of the Year 3 times, inducted into Aquinas High School’s Hall of Fame for coaching, and was recently named Medium Schools State Coach of the Year. While always pursuing championships, Coach Henderson’s goal is to develop champions in the process. He lives in Simi Valley with his wife Amy and 5 children.
In high school Coach Marvin was a four sport athlete. He played varsity soccer and golf at Grace while playing lacrosse and ice hockey outside of school. After graduating from Grace, he attended Cal Lutheran University. While at Cal Lutheran he played lacrosse and ice hockey and received a Bachelor's of Science in Exercise Science. Dustin has a passion for coaching and training up young men in the fear of the Lord. he has been attending Grace Church since 2011 whee he currently serves as the Student Ministries Intern. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Heidi, since 2015. Coach Marvin grew up playing lacrosse in the Conejo Valley area. He has over 10 years of playing experience and over 5 years of coaching experience. He has coached lacrosse at local high schools and is the first Varsity Lacrosse coach in Grace history.
Michael Michaelis is married to Cyndi Michaelis for 25 years. They have two boys and two girls and five grandchildren. Michael started umpiring 1971 and retired in 2005. He is a coach at heart. Michael has coached baseball for 15 years, coaching golf for 18 years and has been working with Dan Martin golf for those 18 years. Michael has worked with and was on the Board of Directors for Ventura County Junior Golf for approximately 8 years and worked with first tee for approximately 4 years. He has also worked with and was on the Board of Directors US kids for approximately eight years and continues to work with them. Michael looks forward to working with California Junior golf starting in April 2018, another Dan Martin golf project.
Natalia is a former collegiate volleyball player born and raised in Southern California. She started playing volleyball in junior high and, although she was previously a basketball player, volleyball quickly took first place. She played at Grace Brethren all four years of high school and received a volleyball scholarship to attend The Master's College. There, she played out her four years earning her BA in Communications. She also played and coached for Pacific Volleyball Club before she got married and moved to France where her husband played professional basketball. After returning to the US in 2015, Natalia began coaching again at Grace Brethren School as the Junior High Coach and Junior Varsity Head Coach for the last two years. She also coaches for Oaks Volleyball Club. Natalia is excited to lead this very competitive program to many successful seasons as she teaches our volleyball players to love God and love people.