Vanderhook back at Fullerton
Longtime assistant returns as school’s fifth DI head coach
FULLERTON, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton Athletic Director Brian Quinn announced the hiring of Rick Vanderhook as the Titans’ fifth Div. I head baseball coach. He will be introduced in a press conference at 10 a.m. PST Monday at Goodwin Field, home of the four-time national champion Titans.
"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 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."
A coaching veteran of 12 Div. I conference championships, 20 postseason appearances, eight Super Regionals appearances, 11 trips to the College World Series and two national championships, Vanderhook comes back to lead a program that has been a fixture among the nation’s elite since 1975.
Vanderhook returns home to Fullerton, where he 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 was also an assistant coach along side now-departed coach Dave Serrano from 1997-2004.
"It is an honor to be back as the head baseball coach at Cal State Fullerton," said Vanderhook.
"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."
At his new post, he will begin his 22nd season with the Titans, and will become the longest-serving baseball coach in school history. He and Garrido are tied with 21 years of service.
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 1026-465-2 (.688) career record as a Div. I assistant over 24 seasons, and a 1095-506-3 mark that includes two more seasons at Northridge, a Div. II school in 1989-90.
As far as assistant coaches go, few can top the success that “Hook” has produced over the course of his career. He has had his hand in the development of 29 position player All-Americans, 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 ascending to the major leagues.
He has directed some of the finest offenses in Cal State Fullerton history, producing six of 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 RBI and five of them rank in the Top 10 in home runs. Seven more of his offenses rank among the Top 10 in runs and eight of them rank 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 RBI, 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 championship rings.
Vanderhook prepped at Lakewood High School and received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Trinity University in 2003.