EUGENE, Ore. – Three-year Oregon assistant coach Mike Kirby has accepted a position with the Cal State Fullerton baseball program, it was announced on Monday.
Kirby rejoins the Cal State Fullerton program as an assistant for newly-hired head coach Rick Vanderhook.
Vanderhook was an assistant to both Titan head coaches Augie Garrido and George Horton from 1985-2007, and is returning to Cal State Fullerton after a brief three-year stint as an assistant coach to UCLA's John Savage.
"It is bittersweet that our baseball program is saying goodbye to Coach Kirby and his family," Horton said. "We are very happy for Mike and his entire family, and excited that they will be reunited in Southern California with this opportunity to coach at Cal State Fullerton.
"I know Mike will miss his second family of staff, student-athletes, and fans at Oregon tremendously, and we will miss him as well. We want to thank Mike for the quality job he did as an assistant here at UO. He is one of the top coaches in the country, and will be a great addition to the Cal State Fullerton staff. He is an exceptional coach, recruiter, and mentor of student-athletes, and was also a great ambassador at Oregon. We wish Mike, Melissa, and Lauren well with their move and their new challenges at Cal State Fullerton."
Kirby was an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton for nine seasons from 1991-99, working with Vanderhook. During that time the pair were part of a coaching staff that won the 1995 College World Championship, as well as making four College World Series appearances (1992, ‘94, ‘95, ‘99) while with the Titans.
Before his three-year tenure at Oregon, Kirby spent one season in 2008 as an assistant coach at UNLV.
During his coaching career, Kirby has coached 23 student-athletes who earned All-American honors during their collegiate careers. Including, three first round draft choices and US Olympians. In addition, he has had 38 position players drafted under his watch.
Responsible for working with Oregon’s hitters, baserunners and catching corps as well as assisting in recruiting, Kirby’s effort was a big part of the Ducks’ success over the past three seasons.
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.
His effort in teaching Oregon its small-ball offense reaped rewards. The Ducks executed 78 sacrifices to lead the country in 2010, and while it maybe not a power stat, it surely helped UO double its 2009 run total from 158 to 376.
Senior catcher Eddie Rodriguez had a breakout season in 2010, 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, while helping to direct 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.
Rodriguez was the first Oregon catcher and position player drafted for the Ducks since the program was reinstated for the 2009 season. In 2011, the Ducks had three more position players drafted, including catcher Jack Marder. Just a sophomore, Marder was Oregon’s starting catcher for the majority of 2011 before an injury ended his season early. Kirby tutored Marder as he took over fulltime catching duties, and was then drafted in the 16th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Seattle Mariners.
Kirby also played a large role in what has proven to be four successful recruiting classes for the Ducks, claiming three consecutive top-25 recruiting classes from 2008-10.
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.
Kirby earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiological sciences from Cal State Fullerton in 1994.