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Top row, from left: Jim McAnany, Mark Kister, Scott Wright, Tim Raley, Steve Mrowka, Carl Fraticelli. Middle row, from left: Mike Weathers, Joey James, David Poss, Chris Donnels, Brett Barbarie, Mike Ross, John Sipple, Steve Hecht, Larry Corrigan. Bottom row, from left: Rick Vanderhook, Reuben Gonzales, Jim Bennett, Gene Roumimper, Tony Lewis, Mike Harkey, Jim Long, Tom Weeks, Doug Linton, Brian Lohman.
In only two seasons at the helm of the Cal State Fullerton baseball program, head coach Rick Vanderhook has quickly ingrained a hard-working philosophy, and he was rewarded with a five-year contract extension through the 2018 season on April 15, 2013.
Vanderhook enters the 2013-14 season in his 26th year as a Titan, and his third as the program’s skipper.
During the past two years, Vanderhook has won two Big West Conference championships, garnered two Big West Coach of the Year awards and has guided the Titans to back-to-back NCAA postseason appearances, including a run to the Super Regionals in 2013, as Fullerton fell to eventual-College World Series champion UCLA.
In addition, over the past two seasons, Vanderhook has coached two Big West Conference pitchers of the year as well as one conference player of the year, one conference freshman pitcher of the year and one conference freshman player of the year. In addition, Vanderhook has tutored five All-Americans and one national freshman pitcher of the year.
Also in the past two seasons, five Titans have been drafted.
The individual success hasn’t hindered the team success as Vanderhook’s head coaching record enters 2014 at 87-31 (.744).
The 2013 Titans completed the season with a record of 51-10 (.836), the second-best winning percentage in program history, and the club finished the regular season (48-8) with single-digit losses for only the second time in program history.
Vanderhook, a former Titan player and assistant coach, was named the Titans’ head coach on June 24, 2011, becoming the program's fifth Div. I head coach. He replaced Dave Serrano, who left after four seasons for a similar post at the University of Tennessee.
With 12 Div. I conference championships, 20 postseason appearances, eight Super Regionals appearances, 11 trips to the College World Series and two national championships already to his coaching credit, Vanderhook came back to Fullerton to lead a program that has been a fixture among the nation's elite since 1975.
He hasn’t missed a beat, taking the Titans to back-to-back Big West Conference championships in 2012 and 2013 (14), a final No. 10 ranking following the 2013 season, and the Titans’ 22nd consecutive NCAA appearance (and his 22nd as well).
Furthermore, the 2012 recruiting class was ranked 23rd in the nation.
Vanderhook spent the better part of a quarter century under head coaches Augie Garrido, Larry Cochell and George Horton. He was also an assistant coach along side Serrano from 1997-2004.
The 2014 campaign will be his 24th season with the Titans. In 2012, he surpassed Garrido as the longest-serving baseball coach in school history. He and Garrido had been tied with 21 years of service.
Vanderhook spent three seasons (2009-11) 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 1985-87, 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. He remained on staff in 1988 under Cochell but then spent two seasons (1989-1990) as an assistant to former Fullerton assistant coach Bill Kernen at Cal State Northridge. Vanderhook returned to Cal State Fullerton with Garrido in 1991 and remained through the 2007 season.
Vanderhook, 52, 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 and head coaches go, few can top the success that "Hook" produced over the course of his career. He has had his hand in the development of 30 position-player All-Americans, 11 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 76 position players drafted - including four first-rounders - with 17 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.
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.
Vanderhook and his wife, April, reside in Yorba Linda, Calif., with their daughters, Noelle (17) and Autumn (15), and their son, R.J. (13), who serves as the Titans’ bat boy.
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT COACH VANDERHOOK
"Rick comes from a great baseball family and he has worked hard for this opportunity. He represents the essence of Titans baseball. He represents the spirit of the baseball program at Cal State Fullerton and I am very happy for him and his family."
-- University of Texas Head Coach Augie Garrido
"Cal State Fullerton baseball's administration has made a great selection in Rick Vanderhook as their new baseball coach. He is one of the top coaches in the country and has a very bright baseball mind. He is an exceptional coach, recruiter and mentor of players. He has been an ambassador at Fullerton and UCLA and the job he has done as an assistant coach at both universities has been exemplary. He has been an instrumental part of three decades of Titan baseball excellence and now gets the opportunity to sit in the head coach's chair. I'm sure Rick will continue the great heritage of Titan baseball into the future. I congratulate Rick and his family for an opportunity that they all deserve. I wish him well."
-- University of Oregon Head Coach George Horton
"Rick did an outstanding job for our program the last three years. I am very excited for him and his new opportunity, one that is well-deserved."
-- UCLA Head Coach John Savage
"Congratulations to Rick "Hooky" Vanderhook. It is a great day for Titan Baseball when a coach, friend and mentor for hundreds of players over the course of 20-plus years is hired to lead the Titan program. There is no doubt that Hooky represents what Titan Baseball is all about and will continue to teach these young players the hard work and traditions that makes TITAN BASEBALL what it is."
-- Former Titan catcher and U.S. Olympian Brian Loyd
"I am very excited about the decision the Cal State Fullerton administration has made to bring back Rick Vanderhook as its head coach. If anything is guaranteed from this hire it is that the Titans will be tough and competitive. Rick knows what it takes to be successful and he has instilled it in me and the hundreds of other players he has coached over the last 26 years."
-- Former Titan infielder and current New York Mets second baseman Justin Turner