Jack Sr. and his son Jack Jr. founded Jack Cust Baseball in 1997. Jack Sr. is well known and respected throughout the state of New Jersey for his contributions to baseball and for his wealth of knowledge and guidance he continues to pass on to players in the college recruiting and major league draft process. After having trained all three of his own sons, Jack Jr., Kevin and Mike, each was drafted out of high school by major league teams.
An accomplished player himself in the 70′s, Jack played at Cathedral HS and went on to play collegiate baseball for Mike Sheppard at Seton Hall University. There he hit a grand slam in the NCAA Regional Final in the 9th inning to lead Coach “Shep” to his first College World Series appearance. Jack Sr. is responsible for the development of our hitting curriculum we call “The Process” that is preached in our Nationally Acclaimed Hitting School.
In 1997, Cust, out of high school, was the first-round draft pick (30th overall) of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and had a .447 on-base percentage in 35 games in the Rookie League. Cust was a Pioneer League All-Star in 1998, where he led the league in walks (86), on-base percentage (.530), and runs scored (75). In 1999, he led the California League in homers (32), on-base percentage (.450), and slugging percentage (.651), and was Baseball America's 1st team Minor League All-Star DH, California League All-Star, and the Arizona Diamondbacks Minor League Player of the Year. In 2000, he had a .440 on-base percentage at El Paso in the Texas League while leading the league in walks (117).
In 2001, he was a Pacific Coast League All-Star while leading the league with 102 walks, and in 2002 he was the Triple-A All-Star Game MVP. In 2006, he led the PCL with 143 walks (also leading the minor leagues), walking 24.5% of the time, while sporting a .467 on-base percentage with 30 home runs. In 11 minor league seasons with five different organizations, he hit exactly 200 home runs, had a .286 batting average, and a .429 on-base percentage. Statistically, he hit a home run once every 19 at-bats, struck out once every 3 at-bats, and earned 1 walk per game
Cust made his Major League debut with the Diamondbacks on September 26, 2001. On January 7, 2002, his 23rd birthday, he was traded by the Diamondbacks with catcher JD Closser to the Colorado Rockies for pitcher Mike Myers. Cust spent the majority of the 2002 season with the Rockies Triple-A affiliate, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. He played in 35 games with the big-league club, going 11–65 with 1 home run.
On November 15, 2004, he was signed by the Oakland Athletics. He spent the whole season in Triple-A Sacramento and was granted free agency after the season. On December 6, 2005, he signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres. He just had 3 at-bats in the 2006 season. Cust began the 2007 with the San Diego Padres Triple-A team, the Portland Beavers. On May 3, 2007, the Padres traded Cust to the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics needed another designated hitter due to an injury to veteran Mike Piazza. Cust quickly endeared himself to A's fans by hitting 6 home runs in his first 7 games. Cust would hit .346 with 14 RBI during the seven-game stretch. On May 13, 2007, with two outs and an 0–2 count in the bottom of the ninth, the A's rallied to score 5 runs to beat Joe Borowski and the Cleveland Indians 10–7, with Cust hitting a walk-off 3-run home run.
After hitting .348 with 1 double and 5 home runs along with 13 RBI, Cust shared Co-American League Player of the Week honors along with teammate Dan Johnson for the week ending May 13, 2007. On August 10, 2007, Cust hit his first major league grand slam off relief pitcher Macay McBride of the Detroit Tigers. He also hit a 3-run double earlier in the game to give him a career high 7 RBI. He finished the 2007 season leading the Athletics in home runs with 26. In 2007, he walked 21.0% of the time, tops in the major leagues.
On December 12, 2009, Cust was non-tendered by the Athletics making him a free agent. On January 7, 2010, Cust re-signed with the Oakland Athletics on a 1-year $2.5 million contract. However, he was designated for assignment on April 3, at the end of Spring training. On April 7, Cust cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. During his 33-minor league game tenure, he hit .273 with 4 home runs and 19 RBIs. On May 15, he was added to the 40-man roster and recalled. He appeared mostly in the outfield until Eric Chavez ended up on the DL, then assumed the primary DH spot. On September 13, Cust hit his 100th career home run in a 3–1 Athletics victory over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium
Keith Dilgard came to Jack Cust Baseball in 2005 after owning and operating his own baseball academy for the previous six years. Keith serves as the CEO & President for Jack Cust Baseball and is responsible for the day to day operations. Keith is well known throughout New Jersey baseball for his playing and coaching career.
Keith was drafted by the San Diego Padres out of Bridgewater-Raritan HS in 1993 and attended Florida CC at Jacksonville where he was an All-American. He was again drafted in 1994 by the New York Yankees. He accepted a scholarship to Mississippi State University in the SEC Conference and was drafted once again by the Cincinnati Reds in 1996. In 1997, he pitched in the College World Series before a shoulder and elbow injury ended his playing career. Keith is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in Business.
Nick came on board to Diamond Nation in August of 2009, a month after opening and has served as the Assistant General Manager until 2015. During that time Nick managed all baseball and softball events at Diamond Nation including: leagues, tournaments, programs, camps/clinics, and special events. While he continues to work closely with these same departments, Nick is now focused on the overall management of directors and staff along with the company’s current and future business objectives
Nick was a graduate of Hamilton High West High School where he accumulated 127 hits in his four years stint. He went on to play at Monmouth University where he capped off his senior year (2006) with honors as the NJ Player of the Year, NEC Player of the Year, ESPN All-American, and Regional Player of the Year. Nick went on to play professionally with the Washington Wild Things of the Independent Frontier League until 2008 when he decided to come home and focus on small business management.
Mike started with the Jack Cust Baseball Academy back in 2001 and served as a coach and instructor for many years before making his way into sales in 2008. As Director of Program & Event Sales, Mike was responsible for attracting teams from across the country to play at Diamond Nation. During that time he developed thousands of relationships with coaches and organization heads in order to create successful tournaments for years to come. Mike's responsibilities now as Asst. GM are directed towards the overall management of the company.
Mike was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 35th round in 2001 but did not play professionally. Like his father Jack Cust Sr., Mike earned a baseball scholarship to play at Seton Hall University from 2002-2007 and during that time he studied at the Stillman School of Business in which he majored in Management.
Marty has been a long time umpire and referee throughout the state of NJ. His management expertise and knowledge of the game has lead him to Diamond Nation where he oversees all tournaments and leagues. Marty’s upbeat personality and creative thinking has made him a great addition to the Diamond Nation team and a fan favorite to the participating teams, coaches, and parents!
Bob is responsible for handling sales and maintenance of all of our corporate partnership and sponsorship accounts. He is a long-time friend of Diamond Nation and a baseball lifer who has supported our programs for years, not only through his own son’s participation, but also as an instrumental source for client referrals and providing off-site camp opportunities. His wealth of experience in business relations, community affairs and promotions makes him the perfect fit to assure our partners the highest level of service.
Ami Iwicki started at Diamond Nation after graduating from Wagner College in 2008 with a Business Marketing degree. She is an alumni of Hunterdon Central Regional High School (2004) where she earned two 1st team All-State honors and Player of the Year honors from the Star-Ledger. After high school, she started four years (201 games) at Wagner College, breaking the career doubles record, receiving NEC team honors and All-Tournament honors at the NEC Championships throughout her career. She also ranks Top 5 for career records such as total hits, RBIs and total bases.
Currently at Diamond Nation, Ami works on creating the marketing materials that we see for our daily programs.
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Bob came to Diamond Nation in July of 2012 after a long and distinguished career as a high schools sports journalist. Bob oversees production of Diamond Nation Magazine, editing and providing the bulk of the copy for the publication. He also writes game and feature stories for DiamondNation.com, reporting on Diamond Nation tournaments throughout the year. He also covers high school baseball and softball in the Garden State for the website each spring.
Bob was graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1978 and Glassboro State College in 1982. He began covering high school sports for The Star-Ledger in 1983. He was responsible for the the paper's Baseball Top 20 from 1997-to-2012 and oversaw The Star-Ledger's All-State Baseball selections during that period.
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Drafted in the 11th round by the Atlanta Braves in 2000.
Played for Danville in the Appalachian League and the Braves’ rookie team in the Gulf Coast League, 2001
Assistant varsity coach, North Hunterdon High School (N.J.), 2011
Head coach, Immaculata High School (Somerville, N.J.), 2013-Present
Kean University, B.A. History, 2012
Immaculata High School, 2000
Hitting, first base and outfield
Did you know? …
Kevin was named First Team All-State by The Star-Ledger in 1999 and 2000. He hit 33 home runs in his high school career, which set a state record. His 16 home runs in 2000 also set a state record. Those records have since been broken. Hillsborough’s Tim Fedroff broke the state record with 34 home runs in a career that ended in 2006. Former Super 17 player Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) broke the state’s single season record when he hit 18 home runs in 2009 for Millville. Cust’s Immaculata teams never lost a Somerset County Tournament game during his four-year varsity career. Kevin loves basketball.
Coach, instructor, Diamond Nation, Flemington, 2010-Present
Head Coach, Diamond Jacks 10U and 11U teams, 2012-‘13
Head coach, Hunterdon Central summer team 2010 – 2013
Varsity assistant coach, Hunterdon Central High School, 2009-’10
Head coach, Hunterdon Central Junior American Legion 2007-‘10
Elementary School Teacher, New Brunswick – 2010-Present
Felician College (NJ), 2009
Hunterdon Central High School, 2005.
Fielding, infield and outfield, and hitting
Did you know? …
Mike broke the single season hits and doubles records and career doubles record at Hunterdon Central High School his senior year in 2005. Mike was assistant varsity coach at Hunterdon Central in 2009. That Red Devils team won the NJSIAA Group 4 championship and finished No. 1 in the state.
Assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator, Bloomfield (NJ) College, 2005-’07.
Physical Education teacher and head varsity coach, Wardlaw Hartridge (NJ), 2007-’09.
Edison American Legion assistant coach, 2008. State Champions in 2007. We were a regional finalistin '07, '08.
Associate scout for the Atlanta Braves, 2010-2012
Director of Garden State Underclass Games – 2013-Present
Assistant varsity baseball coach, Somerville High School (NJ), 2015-Present
California University (Pa), 2008
Upsala College, 1995
Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS, 1993
Infield and hitting, all ages; College recruiting.
Steve has guided more than 60 Division 1 players through the recruiting process
Did you know? …
In addition to playing baseball at Scotch Plains High School, Steve ran winter track. He competed in the, 60, 200 and 400-meter runs and 800-meter relay. He earned All-Conference and was the team’s MVP.” Steve was graduated from the Union County Fire Academy. He has coached six infielders in the past seven years who’ve committed or played for teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Drafted in the 25th round by the Atlanta Braves in 2001. “Tyrone Brooks is the scout who drafted me.”
Reached High-A ball with the Braves.
Played seven years in the Atlantic League for Camden Riversharks and Somerset Patriots.
Hitting coach and third base coach for Somerset Patriots, 2010-‘12.
Diamond Nation – Providing lessons and coaching teams, 2006-present.
University Nebraska, 2001
Shasta Jr. College, California, 1999-‘00 – AA Criminal Justice
Burney Jr./Sr. High School, 1998
Catching and hitting, all ages.
Did you know? …
Travis’ senior class at Burney High had just 42 students. “Actor Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist) taught at my high school in 1969.” Travis was the leadoff hitter his freshman year at Shasta Junior College. He played high school football and was named Second Team All Northern Section of California as a defensive back. He holds two football records at his high school; he intercepted 14 passes in one season and kicked a 47-yard field goal, the longest in school history. “I almost went to college as a kicker.”
Ridge High School Varsity Softball, 2017-present
Director of Softball Operations (2011) and Assistant Coach, DePaul University Softball
Graduate Assistant, DePaul Softball, three years.
Four-year playing career at Depaul University, fourth all-time in RBI and second all-time in HRs.
Four-time (2001-'04) All-State catcher/shortstop at Ridge High School, Basking Ridge, N.J.
Master's Degree in Educational Leadership, DePaul University, 2012
B.A. Communications, DePaul University, 2009
Catching, infield/outfield defense, hitting
Molding young athletes
Did you know? …
Jackie was the only player from New Jersey to compete in the 2007 Women's College World Series. That DePaul team went 20-0 in Big East Conference play and beat top-ranked Oklahoma in the NCAA Super Regional to reach the WCWS. She was inducted into the Ridge High School Hall of Fame in 2016. Jackie's first season coaching at Ridge last spring produced the team's first .500 season since 2002. She was a four-time All-Big East Conference selection at DePaul University and an All-Region honoree in 2007 and '09.
Thomas Tarulli has 25 years in the Marketing and Advertising fields working with some of the biggest Fortune 500 Companies including: Campbell Soup, Adidas USA, IBM, L’Oreal, Lancome, Johnson & Johnson, Ralph Lauren, and TUMI. He has been working in the print media field where, for the last 15 years, he has brought all his life experience in the developing and branding of travel teams and prospective student athletes to universities and colleges that fit their profile, both on and off the field.
Tom was part of the USA Junior National Team Selection Process and was named USA Ambassador to Softball and Team Liaison under Head Coach Karen Johns from 2009 to 2011. In 2011 the USA Jr Nat. Team Won a World Champion.