LA JOLLA, Calif. — The UC San Diego Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is proud to introduce former Nebraska assistant Eric Newman as its new head baseball coach. The announcement was made Monday by Director of Athletics Earl W. Edwards.
Newman had been the pitching coach at Nebraska since 2007 and served as the head coach at Dallas Baptist from 2004 until 2007. A San Diego Padres draft pick, Newman played eight seasons of professional baseball.
“We’re very excited to welcome Eric Newman to the Triton family,” said Edwards. “His outstanding reputation and his experiences as both a head and assistant coach will enable the baseball program to continue to operate at the high standard that it has in the past.”
He takes over the Triton program from Dan O’Brien, who resigned in June to take the head position at NCAA Division I Santa Clara. O’Brien, the winningest coach in school history, amassed a record of 454-283-1 (.616) over 14 seasons in La Jolla.
“I’m really honored to be coming in and taking over a program that has established itself as one of the best in Division II,” said Newman. “I plan on continuing to build on the success that Coach (Dan) O’Brien developed while he was here. I want to thank Earl Edwards and the Athletics Department for this opportunity and I’m really looking forward to working with the Triton baseball family.”
In 2008, his first season as pitching coach at Nebraska, Newman wasted no time making an impact as his staff played a major role in getting the Huskers to the NCAA Regionals for the ninth time in 10 years. He took a contingent that had just 14 returning wins and guided the team to 41 wins and a No. 1 regional seed. For the season, NU was tops in the Big 12 in complete games (7) and ranked among the league leaders in saves (17, second), strikeouts (491, third) and ERA (4.18, third). The ERA ranked 23rd nationally, while the 491 strikeouts were the most at NU since 2005 and the staff’s 8.46 strikeouts per game set a new school record.
The 2008 Huskers featured two-time All-American Johnny Dorn, as well as All-Big 12 selections Thad Weber and Dan Jennings. Five pitchers were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including Aaron Pribanic (third round, Seattle), Jennings (ninth, Florida), Dorn (15th, Florida), Weber (16th, Detroit) and Zach Herr (38th, San Diego).
In 2010 and 2011, Newman boasted top 15-ranked recruiting classes.
Prior to arriving in Lincoln, Newman spent five years (2002-07) at NCAA Division I independent Dallas Baptist. Named the program’s head coach in 2004, Newman led the Patriots to a 95-72 (.569) record and guided the program through its transition to Division I.
During Newman’s years at the helm, the Patriot program turned out a Collegiate Baseball First Team All-American in Drew Holder and 14 All-Independent Team picks. Newman had three players invited to Team USA trials and 15 of his players, including eight pitchers, were drafted or signed professional free agent contracts.
In 2005, the Patriots were top-15 in the country in batting average, runs scored, doubles and slugging percentage. In 2006, the team was top-10 nationally in runs, doubles, home runs and slugging.
Newman was named the 2006 Independent Coach of the Year.
From 2002-2004, Newman was the associate head coach and pitching coach at Dallas Baptist. During his tenure, he lowered the team ERA from 5.80 to 3.28. The 3.28 in 2004 would have ranked seventh nationally had DBU not been provisional Division I status at the time.
The Patriots won their second consecutive NCCAA national championship in 2004, a season that saw five pitchers finish with ERAs under 3.00. The duo of Lance Broadway and Jeff Gilmore each recorded 10 wins. Broadway, a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and Roger Clemens Award in 2005, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the first round and made it to the Major Leagues in 2007.
Dallas Baptist also won a NCCAA title in 2003.
Patriot pitchers tossed a perfect game and three no-hitters under Newman.
While at DBU, Newman was instrumental in fundraising, helping secure over $600,000 to build a new clubhouse and renovate the indoor hitting facility in 2006. In 2005, Newman assisted in starting the Minuteman Booster/Alumni Club.
A fifth round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 1994, Newman pitched professionally for eight seasons with four different organizations. Overall, he ended his career with a 44-44 record over 600+ innings. He averaged less than one hit per inning and nearly one strikeout per inning for his career. He saw action all the way up to the AAA level.
Newman played in the minors for the Padres (1994-98), the Chicago Cubs (1999-2000), the Arizona Diamondbacks (2001) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2002). He was a player/coach for the Vero Beach Dodgers in the Florida State League.
As a collegiate student-athlete, Newman played two seasons at Fresno State before transferring to Texas Tech. In 1993, he won a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship with the Bulldogs. The next season, he was tabbed All-Southwest Conference as a member of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Newman earned a master’s degree in higher education from Dallas Baptist in 2004. He did his undergrad work at Texas Tech and received a bachelor’s degree in family studies in 1997.
“I’m excited to be working with these accomplished young men that excel on the field and in the classroom,” said Newman. “We’re going to put together a great staff to lead this program into the future.”