Mike Kirby helped usher in a brand new era of Oregon baseball in 2009.
Responsible for Oregon’s small game and the catching corps as well as assisting in recruiting, Kirby’s effort was a big part of the Ducks’ successful season in 2010.
Oregon finished 2010 with a 40-24 record, and reached the Norwich Regional elimination game as the No. 3 seed. The season was much different than the 2009 campaign (14-42), and UO’s magnificent turnaround was the second-best in NCAA history since 1998.
Coaching first base and positioning the outfield defense were among Kirby’s in-game responsibilities, but his effort in teaching Oregon its small ball offense reaped rewards. The Ducks executed 78 sacrifices to lead the country, and while it maybe not a power stat, it surely helped UO double its 2009 run total from 158 to 376 in 2010.
Senior catcher Eddie Rodriguez had a breakout season, earning Pac-10 honorable mention honors. At the plate, Rodriguez led the Ducks with 45 RBIs and seven home runs while batting .329 on the season. Behind the plate, Rodriguez managed a .988 fielding percentage and threw out nine base runners while helping to manage a pitching staff that sported a 3.29 ERA – third in the country.
Rodriguez’s senior season was culminated after he was selected in the 32nd round of the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Florida Marlins.
Kirby also plays a large role in what has proven to be successful recruiting classes for the Ducks. With back-to-back top-25 recruiting classes for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the Ducks very possibly have a third nationally-ranked recruiting class for the freshmen of 2011. The class is 12 signees deep, including six that were taken in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
In 2009, Kirby coached at third base and worked with the team’s young group of catchers. Kirby helped prepare JC standouts Eddie Rodriguez and Mitch Karraker to share the starting catching role, but when injuries hampered both their respective seasons, Kirby aided true freshman Paul Eshleman to take over the assignment.
On the bases, Kirby helped a young team through its offensive struggles to utilize some of his players’ best talents. A young team not lacking for speed, the Ducks stole 60 bases last season to rank fourth in the Pac-10, and consistently worked on advancing runners executing 49 sacrifices to move runners along.
Kirby joined the Oregon baseball program in September of 2008 to complete the coaching staff that would usher in the first Ducks’ baseball season in 28 years.
Before making the move to Eugene, Kirby spent the 2008 season with the UNLV baseball program, serving as the team’s third base coach while also working with catchers, hitters and baserunners. During which time Kirby helped first baseman Xavier Scruggs regain his power stroke, resulting in the Mountain West Conference Triple Crown by leading the league in batting average (.379), home runs (20) and RBI (65). Scruggs is also just the second player in MWC history to earn the Triple Crown. In addition, he directed the Rebel baseball camps.
Kirby spent nine years prior to his time at UNLV working with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
A veteran of the collegiate game, Kirby was an assistant at Cal State Fullerton for eight years from 1991-99, working under George Horton and the legendary Augie Garrido. Kirby was a coach on the 1995 College World Championship squad, and made four College World Series appearances (1992, ‘94, ‘95, ‘99) while with the Titans.
During his time at both UNLV and Cal State Fullerton, Kirby coached 23 student-athletes who earned All-American honors during their collegiate careers. Including, three first round draft choices and US Olympians.
Kirby earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiological sciences from Cal State Fullerton in 1994. He and his wife Melissa reside in Eugene, OR, with their daughter Lauren (5).