California head baseball coach David Esquer, the 2011 National Coach of the Year, represents the best in college baseball - first as a player, then as an assistant coach, and now as the leader of the Golden Bears.
As a player, Esquer was the starting shortstop on Stanford's 1987 national championship squad. As an assistant coach, he helped produce six NCAA postseason teams and one World Series participant at Stanford and Pepperdine. Now as head coach of Cal, Esquer led the Bears to the 2011 College World Series, was named the 2011 National Coach of the Year, has had four players selected in the first round of the professional draft and has produced 11 All-Americans.
Esquer, 47, has compiled a 383-338-2 (.531) career mark with the Bears that includes four NCAA regional appearances (2001, 2008, 2010, 2011) and a 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor. In 2011, he guided Cal to a 38-23 record and the team's third postseason appearance in the last five years. The Bears captured the Houston Regional with a thrilling, 9-8, victory over Baylor with four runs in the bottom of the ninth, and swept through a best-of-three series with Dallas Baptist in the Super Regional, to advance to the College World Series.
One of the key elements in Cal's run to the 2011 College World Series was Tony Arnerich, the Golden Bears' third base coach and chief hitting instructor. Arnerich, who will be entering his fourth season as assistant coach and fifth year overall with the program in 2012, is a former standout catcher at Texas Tech and professional ballplayer in the Kansas City Royals and Florida Marlins organizations.
Arnerich, 31, has been a huge boost to Cal's hitting and catching corps with extensive experience as both a player and a coach. He was the head coach of the St. Cloud River Bats of the Northwoods League from 2005-08, leading his team to the first half title and the league championship in the summer of 2007. Arnerich also served as a part-time assistant coach in 2007 at Sonoma State, where he earned a degree in sociology in June of 2008.
As a player, Arnerich attended Santa Rosa Junior College where he was a two-time, first-team all-league selection and a 2000 first-team Junior College All-American, helping guide his team to the 1999 California Junior College World Series. He then earned a scholarship to Texas Tech, where he was second-team All-Big 12 in 2001, leading the Red Raiders to an NCAA Regional berth while pacing the team with 24 doubles. During the summers, Arnerich was a three-time Northwoods League All-Star and was named the league's MVP in 2001. His number was retired following his 2001 season, and he is now a member of the Northwoods League All-Decade Team.
Mike Neu, former head baseball coach at Diablo Valley College and former standout at Miami and a Major Leaguer with the Oakland A's, will be entering his second season as the pitching coach for the University of California in 2013.
Coming to the Golden Bears with impressive credentials, both as a player and a coach, Neu, 34, was head coach at Diablo Valley College from 2009-11, leading his team to a 87-41 mark (.680) with two Big 8 Conference titles in three years. His 2011 squad was ranked No. 1 in Northern California for four weeks this past spring, and his pitching staff led all the California Community Colleges with a 2.13 team ERA.
Additionally, Neu has been an associate scout for both the Kansas City Royals and the Atlanta Braves, and was the pitching coach for DVC in 2007 and 2008. His professional baseball career included playing in the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, Oakland Athletics and Cincinnati Reds organizations. Neu was called up to the Major Leagues with the Athletics on April 9, 2003 and proceeded to post a 3.64 ERA in 32.0 relief appearances (42.0 innings) that season.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Ruben Noriega enters his first season as a volunteer assistant baseball coach with the Golden Bears' program. Some of his duties will include working with the outfielders, assisting with the hitters and coaching first base.
Before coming to Cal, Noriega spent the 2012 season as an assistant coach at San Jose State University. While at San Jose State the baseball program reached an all-time APR (Academic Progress Rate) high (982). In 2012, the Spartans had some big victories including a home-and-home sweep of Stanford and a three game sweep of Fresno State at Fresno. This was the first time the Spartans had swept all their games against Stanford and Fresno State since 1995.
Before working at San Jose State, Noriega spent two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Lindenwood University, in St. Charles, Mo. Noriega was the Lions' hitting coach and outfield coach, oversaw the strength and conditioning program and was the assistant recruiting coordinator.