FULLERTON, Calif. — Cal State Fullerton has announced the hiring of Rick Vanderhook as the Titans’ head coach. He will be formally introduced at a press conference on Monday at 10 a.m. PST at Goodwin Field.
“I have never met anyone with more passion for Titan baseball than Rick, and I couldn’t be happier to bring him home where he belongs,” said Athletic Director Brian Quinn, who awarded Vanderhook a three-year contract through the 2014 season.
“I have complete confidence in his ability to recruit, teach and motivate our student-athletes to compete at the highest level. He is deeply committed to the academic success of his players. I am very excited to have ‘Hook’ return to Cal State Fullerton,” Quinn said.
Vanderhook, who has helped lead teams to 12 conference championships, eight Super Regionals appearances, 11 trips to the College World Series and two national championships, comes back to lead a program that has been a fixture among the nation’s elite since 1975.
At Fullerton, Vanderhook spent the better part of a quarter century as a player and assistant coach under head coaches Augie Garrido, Larry Cochell and George Horton. He also shared assistant coaching duties with Dave Serrano from 1997-2004.
“It is an honor to be back as the head baseball coach at Cal State Fullerton,” Vanderhook said.
“I would like to thank Dr. (Milton) Gordon, Dr. (Silas) Abrego, Brian Quinn and Steve DiTolla and the whole Titan family for their support and effort in bringing me back here to lead this storied program.”
As head coach, he will enter his 22nd season with the Titans, and will become the longest-serving baseball coach in school history.
Vanderhook has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach to John Savage at UCLA, where he helped lead the Bruins to a Pac-10 conference title, a pair of postseason appearances and a runner-up finish at the 2010 College World Series.
He began his coaching career as an assistant to Garrido from 1985-88, serving as the bullpen coach for the first two years before stepping into the third base coaching box and working with the hitters and defense in 1987.
After spending two seasons (1989-1990) as an assistant to former Fullerton assistant coach Bill Kernen at Cal State Northridge, Vanderhook returned with Garrido to Cal State Fullerton in 1991 and remained through the 2007 season.
Vanderhook, 50, has registered a 1095-506-3 (.683) career record as an assistant over 24 seasons, which includes two seasons at Northridge, a Division II school in 1989-90.
As far as assistant coaches go, few can top the success that Vanderhook has produced over the course of his career. He has had his hand in the development of 29 All-American position players, 10 conference players of the year, three national players of the year, two USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award winners and four U.S. Olympians. In his tenure, he has seen 72 position players drafted – including four first-rounders – with 16 of them reaching the major leagues.
He has directed some of the greatest offenses in Cal State Fullerton history, producing six of the school’s top-10 team batting averages, including a school record .338 in 1999. Six of his squads rank among the top-10 in hits and RBIs and five of them rank in the top-10 in home runs. Seven of his offenses are top-10 in runs and eight are top-10 in runs per game.
Most recently in 2010, he guided the UCLA offense to a .304 team batting average, the program’s highest mark since 2001. The Bruins also registered a .397 on-base percentage and collected 417 RBIs, the highest totals for any UCLA team since 2000.
A product of the prominent Cerritos College program where he played for Horton, Vanderhook originally came to the Titans in 1983 when he took a redshirt season. He was a member of the Titans’ 1984 national championship team, earning his first of three Cal State Fullerton championships.