July 11, 2011
Named CBI Coach of the Year
(photos by Jimmy Jones)
Va. – David Esquer of California had
as much success off the field as on, helping save the Golden
Bears baseball program while guiding them to the College World
Series. For these amazing accomplishments, Esquer has been named
national Coach of the Year by CollegeBaseballInsider.com.
Esquer was selected from a group of finalists
that included Ray Tanner of South Carolina, Kevin O’Sullivan of
Florida, Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt, Mike Fox of North Carolina,
Rob Childress of Texas A&M and Dan Heefner of Dallas Baptist.
“David Esquer experienced something no coach
should ever go through,” said Sean Ryan, co-founder of
CollegeBaseballInsider.com. “But he handled it all with class
and dignity. The trip to Omaha was well-earned icing on the cake
for an eventful year.”
The University of California announced on
September 28, 2010, that it would eliminate baseball and four
other sports from varsity competition for financial reasons,
sending shock waves throughout college baseball. The program had
been in existence since 1892 and won a pair of national titles.
Esquer worked with alumni and friends of the
program to raise funds to save all five sports. In February, the
school said that three of the sports would continue, but
baseball was not on the list. The program was finally sparred in
Through all this turmoil, Esquer kept the ship
afloat. There was minimal desertion after the fall. Instead of
recruiting future Bears, Esquer was trying to find homes for his
underclassmen for 2012. But the squad was winning and found
itself ranked in the national polls.
After going 29-24 a season ago, including 13-14
in the Pac-10, Cal went 31-20 during the regular season with a
13-13 conference mark
Bears earned their 12th NCAA tourney bid and entered the Houston
Regional as the No. 3 seed. Cal dropped a 6-4 decision to Baylor
in the opener before posting four straight wins to advance to
its first Super Regional. The Bears swept Dallas Baptist in the
Santa Clara Super Regional to earn their sixth trip to the
College World Series and first since 1992.
Cal dropped a close 4-1 decision to top-seeded
Virginia before defeating Texas A&M 7-3 for its first win in
Omaha since 1980. The memorable season, the 12th for Esquer in
Berkeley, came to an end with an 8-1 loss to the Cavaliers.
Tanner led South Carolina to its second straight
national championship, just the sixth program to capture
consecutive crowns. The Gamecocks went 10-0 in the NCAA
Tournament, including a 5-0 mark at the College World Series.
USC went 55-14 while capturing the first title at TD Ameritrade
Park after winning the final CWS at Rosenblatt Stadium.
O’Sullivan took his Florida Gators to Omaha,
reaching the CWS championship series. Florida won the SEC
Tournament for the first time in 20 years and was the No. 2
national seed. The Gators went 53-19 and reached the College
World Series for the second straight year and the seventh time
in program history.
Corbin guided Vanderbilt to its first CWS
appearance. The Commodores tied for the SEC regular-season title
and reached the SEC championship game. Vanderbilt was the No. 6
national seed and swept Oregon State in the Nashville Super
Regional to advance to Omaha. The Commodores won a pair of CWS
contests and finished with a 54-12 mark.
After struggling through much of 2010, Fox took
North Carolina to the College World Series for the fifth time in
the past six years. The Tar Heels earned the No. 3 national seed
and swept their Regional and Super Regional. UNC won once in
Omaha, finishing the season with a 51-14 record.
Childress took Texas A&M to the College World
Series for the fifth time in program history and the first since
1999. The Aggies won the Big 12 Tournament and the College
Station Regional before taking two of three from Florida State
at the Tallahassee Super Regional. Texas A&M went 47-22 in 2011.
Heefner led Dallas Baptist to its first Regional
title in its second NCAA tourney appearance as a Division I
program. The independent Patriots won the Fort Worth Regional
and competed against Cal in the Santa Clara Super Regional
Heefner guided DBU to a 42-20 mark, its 33rd straight winning
season for the program.
Honorable mention goes to Jim Penders of
Connecticut, Loren Hibbs of Charlotte, Brian O’Connor of
Virginia, Pat Casey of Oregon State, Nate Goulet of Old
Dominion, Scott Stricklin of Kent State, Bobby Pierce of Troy
and Pete Dunn of Stetson.
Previous CBI Coaches of the Year
2010 – John Savage, UCLA
2009 – Brian O’Connor, Virginia
2008 – Paul Mainieri, LSU, and Mark Marquess,
2007 – Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt, and Rob Childress,
2006 – John Cohen, Kentucky
2005 – Pat Casey, Oregon State
2004 – David Perno, Georgia
2003 – Elliott Avent, North Carolina State