Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
The assistant head coaching spot left vacant when Brian Green took a job at Kentucky has been filled by Rick Vanderhook. Hook spent 21 years as an assistant at Fullerton and was promoted to Associate Head Coach under George Horton prior to the Titans' first game of the 2007 College World Series. He was expected by many to succeed Horton at Fullerton, but was passed over for the job to the surprise of many. Coach Serrano, who got the Fullerton job offered Hook a spot on the coaching staff, but he was upset for being passed over and declined. Coach Horton also offered Hook a place on his staff as the Associate Head Coach, but he did not want to move his family that has such strong ties to the Souther California area.
Vanderhook, 43, took last season off from coaching, but has 21 years of coaching experience. He started his coaching career at Fullerton the year after he finished playing. He spent two seasons as the bullpen coach and then one as the third base coach under legend Augie Garrido. Hook then went to Cal St. Northridge where he was the top assistant before going back to Fullerton after two seasons. Hook spent the remainder of his coaching career at Fullerton before taking last year off.
Vanderhook is considered one of the nation's best coaches. He has been offered head coaching jobs before, but declined them under the assumption he was succeed Horton at Fullerton. Hook is a premier hitting coach and has produced players such as first round picks Mike Harkey, Phil Nevin, Dante Powell, Mark Kotsay, Ricky Romero and supplemental pick Aaron Rowand. He has also coached 19 other All-Americans since 1991. Not only is Hook one of the best hitting coaches in the game, but he is also one of the nation's best recruiters with ties all over the area. He was the Titans' lead recruiter for the bulk of his time at Fullerton and many Titan players have credited him as the main reason they chose Fullerton.
If you want information on how involved Hook was in the Fullerton program, look at what Horton had to say in a Baseball America interview about who he thought should get the Fullerton job when he left.
I’ve let it known with them that Rick Vanderhook has 100 percent of my support. I’ve done everything in my power as the ex-baseball coach to promote Rick Vanderhook. This Titans baseball family runs pretty significant, there are a lot of guys that could be successful that are out coaching in other places, but my opinion is it’s a no-brainer. Rick Vanderhook should be the next head baseball coach at Cal State Fullerton, he should be given a three-year contract.
Rick’s been here for 20 years, been here longer than I have, been here during Augie Garrido’s tenure, been here during my tenure. That wasn’t just a token thing making him associate head coach (this year), he does pretty much everything I did with the program.
This is a huge get for the Bruin baseball program. Vanderhook will take care of the hitters (his strength) and Savage will take care of the pitchers (his strength). Hook will also bring even more credibility to the program, give a boost to the already strong recruiting and provide expert coaching the program has lacked recently. Most importantly, Hook will bring a new attitude to the program that will challenge players and provide some much needed toughness within the program. The Bruin program has taken huge strides under Savage, but has been criticized for being a little soft and lacking the correct mental approach to the game. With Hook on the staff, it's hard to imagine that continuing.
UPDATE: The official site has picked up on the hire and has this quote from Coach Savage:
"Rick has been one of the top coaches for a very long time in college baseball," Savage said. "His knowledge, experience and passion will be a great addition to Bruin baseball. Rick has developed many players that were not only great college players but were also successful in professional baseball. Rick has been a part of many winning teams. We are very excited about Rick being in Westwood."
And it also has some more numbers from his time at Fullerton:
At Cal State Fullerton, Vanderhook helped lead the Titans to two national championships (1995, 2004). He coached the Titans to 10 College World Series appearances, six Super Regional triumphs, 16 Regional berths (13 since 1992) and 11 Big West Conference titles. Vanderhook also spent two years (1989-1990) as an assistant coach at Cal State Northridge, guiding the Matadors to a 39-22 record and NCAA Division II runner-up finish in 1990.
Under his tutelage at Cal State Fullerton, Vanderhook coached 52 All-America selections (27 on offense) and 28 eventual major leaguers. As the Titans' recruiting coordinator from 1991-1996, Vanderhook brought in 17 eventual All-America selections to Cal State Fullerton's program. Since 1991, Vanderhook's offenses posted a batting average above .300 each spring and an on-base percentage higher than .400 in all but one season.
Vanderhook was responsible for some of the most explosive offenses in Cal State Fullerton's history. The 1999 Titans established program benchmarks for single-season batting average (.338) and runs per game (9.2). Fullerton's 1998 squad set school records with 93 home runs, 28 triples and 167 doubles.