July 11, 2011


Esquer Named CBI Coach of the Year

(photos by Jimmy Jones)


RICHMOND, 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 early April.


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


The 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, Stanford

2007 – Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt, and Rob Childress, Texas A&M

2006 – John Cohen, Kentucky

2005 – Pat Casey, Oregon State

2004 – David Perno, Georgia

2003 – Elliott Avent, North Carolina State