Cal State Fullerton decided that familiarity had everything to do with selecting their next baseball coach, and in the end, it was a man who had spent well over 20 years in the program who will be their next leader.
Rick Vanderhook, a former Titan assistant coach for 21 years and played under former legendary coach Augie Garrido, was named the fifth head baseball in school history by Cal State Fullerton Athletic Director Brian Quinn on Friday afternoon.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Vanderhook had been the personal choice for Quinn, but a meeting with school president Milton A. Gordon all but cemented the decision.
Vanderhook well knows what it takes to continue the winning tradition for Cal State Fullerton baseball—he won a national championship as a player in 1984 and as an assistant coach in 1995 and 2004.
Vanderhook has been serving as the hitting and outfield instructor at UCLA for the past three seasons, and will be given his first opportunity as head coach with the 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,” Quinn said in the school’s news release.
“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.”
Vanderhook becomes the fifth head baseball coach in the history of the program that has been at the top of Division 1 play since 1975.
As an assistant coach at CSF, Vanderhook helped lead the Titans to 10 trips to the College World Series. Additionally, he helped guide the Titans to six Super Regional triumphs, 16 Regional berths and 11 Big West Conference titles.
Vanderhook is thrilled to be back home.
“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.”
In his first season, Vanderhook will work to build on a team that finished with a 47-17 record and were elimintated in the NCAA Super Regional tournament.
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