Who We Are
Kenny Niles has been coaching in the Eugene Area for the past 20 years and has been successful everywhere he has been. Currently, he is the head coach of the Emerald Challengers, where he has compiled a record 220-58 record over his five years. Coach Niles has guided the Challengers to two State of Oregon American Legion second place finishes and in 2021 he led the Challengers to an American Legion State Championship. In 2021, the Challengers finished 3rd at the Northwest Regional Tournament and a top 20 finish in the nation.
Coach Niles just completed his second year as head baseball coach at North Eugene High School where he has led them to the state playoffs in both years. Prior to North Eugene, he coached at Churchill High School where he was 140-47 leading the Lancers to a 5A state title in 2017. He also won to Junior State Championships during the summer with the Lancers in 2017 and 2018 with a combined record of 63-9. Kenny began his coaching, in the Eugene area, at Sheldon High School where he guided the Irish to multiple playoff appearances and in 2007 the Irish were ranked in the top 50 nationally while being ranked number one in the state of Oregon.
Kenny won two state titles, as a player, at Grant Union High School and went on to play collegiately at the junior college level. He returned as an assistant to Grant Union and had assistant stops at Mountain View, Bend, and Sisters High Schools prior to moving to Eugene.
Coach Niles and his wife Jennifer are the owners of Niles 108 Baseball Academy and have two daughters and one son. Kenny has been actively involved as an evaluator with Baseball Northwest, camp instructor at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, and lead instructor for the Eugene Emeralds baseball camps.
Coach Guldager brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his 36 years of coaching high school athletics. Coach Guldager is currently the pitching and catching coach for the Emerald Challengers where he has helped guide the Challengers to a remarkable 220-58 over the past 5 years. During that 5-year span the Challengers have two state runner ups banners and one state championship in 2021.
His baseball coaching career began at Elmira High School as the head coach from 1993-2007. In those 15 years, he led the Falcons to 10 playoff appearances and in 1995 they went 22-3 advancing to the quarter-finals. Coach Guldager, “Guldy” to most, was selected as the state of Oregon Coach-of-the-Year for his efforts. Jon went on to coach at Willamette High School from 2008-2017 where he guided the Wolverines to the state playoffs four times. Coach Guldager compiled 340 wins as a head baseball coach in the state of Oregon over his 25 years.
Jon’s assistant coaching resume began in 2018 by joining Coach Niles staff at Churchill High School. During Guldy’s time at Churchill, he helped the Lancers to a 55-16 record during the spring seasons and won two state titles during the summer with a combined record of 63-9 in 2018 and 2019. He moved across town with Coach Niles to coach at North Eugene High School the past two years where the Highlanders have reached the state playoffs both seasons.
Coach Guldager, a graduate of Linfield University, was an all-conference and all-district player during his career with the Wildcats. He has been employed at Elmira High School for the past 32 years as a social studies teacher and now as a career counselor in the CTE field. Coach and his wife, Christine, have been married for 31 years and have two kids.