Santa Clara University announced it has hired Dan O’Brien as the new Bronco head baseball coach. O’Brien has spent the past 14 seasons as the head coach at UC-San Diego, building that program into one of the premier programs at the Division II level. Dan O’Brien, the 36th head coach in school history in a baseball program that dates to 1883, replaces Mark O’Brien after he stepped down in June after 10 years at the Bronco helm.
During the past eight seasons, O’Brien’s Tritons qualified for five Division II West Regional showings, two National Championship Finals appearances and set a school record for wins four times. O’Brien, a 1995 graduate of UCSD, was the winningest coach in program history, holding a career record of 454-283-1 (.616). In 2011, starting pitchers Tim Shibuya and Guido Knudson became UCSD’s first Major League Baseball draft picks since 2003. All told, 42 Tritons have earned all-West Region accolades since UCSD moved to Division II in 2001, while 72 student-athletes have been named to All-California Collegiate Athletic Association teams.
“We are so pleased to be bringing Dan O’Brien aboard to usher in a new era in Bronco baseball,” SCU athletic director Dan Coonan said. “He is a phenomenal baseball coach, as baseball people will attest to, but an even better person. He embodies the type of values Santa Clara holds so dear, and that manifests itself in his coaching style and philosophy. He is quite accustomed to running a successful baseball program at a top academic institution. He is a perfect fit for Santa Clara and is ready to bring the program to new heights. We can’t wait.”
“I am very humbled and honored to be Santa Clara’s head baseball coach and am thrilled about the opportunity that Dan Coonan and his staff has provided me,” O’Brien said. “Santa Clara is a very special place. Anyone who has associated with this University knows that, and I’m excited to create a similar culture within this program that will inspire people to want to be a part of it. I see greatness in the very near future for Bronco Baseball, and will tirelessly work to bring this program to the level that it’s capable of becoming.”
Under O’Brien’s guidance, the Tritons earned berths in the CCAA Tournament eight years running, winning the tournament title in 2005, ’09, ’10 and ’11. UCSD also has made five consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and claimed back-to-back West Regional crowns in 2009 and ’10.
After reaching the national championship game in 2010, the Tritons lived up to their billing again in 2011, winning their third consecutive CCAA regular season and tournament titles. As the No. 1 seed, UCSD hosted the West Regional for the first time in program history. The Tritons were ranked in the national top-30 all season and held the No. 1 spot for two consecutive weeks in February. Ending the year at No. 6, UCSD finished with a 42-15 overall record and a 29-11 mark in CCAA play. The Tritons strung together a school-record 19-game win streak between April 9 and May 14.
O’Brien was honored as the 2011 Daktronics West Region Coach of the Year, the NCBWA West Region Co-Coach of the Year and the CCAA Coach of the Year. Nine Tritons picked up all-West accolades and starting pitcher Tim Shibuya and utility player Blake Tagmyer earned all-American honors.