One of the most respected pitching coaches in the nation, Troy Buckley enters his second season as the head coach of Long Beach State after engineering an immediate turnaround in his first season with the Dirtbags.
Taking the helm after two disappointing campaigns where the Dirtbags finished lower than fourth in the Big West for the first time since 1989, Buckley took command of a team that had lost its five top hitters and its strikeouts leader from the year before.
Under Buckley's leadership, the squad lowered its team ERA by nearly a full point to 3.55 from 4.67, and he led the team to a 29-27 finish against the nation's third-toughest schedule, just missing a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Buckley stepped up as the head coach for Long Beach State after he had made his return as the team's associate head coach for the 2010 season. That move was on the heels of spending two years as the Minor League Pitching Coordinator with the Pirates. In that position, Buckley oversaw the overall development of every arm in the Pirates farm system, and also worked in conjunction with the Major League ballclub over spring training development and through the season regarding player movement.
Jesse Zepeda enters his second at Long Beach State as the lead assistant for the baseball program. Zepeda will lead the offense and serves as the recruiting coordinator for the Dirtbags.
Zepeda came to the Beach after spending seven years as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator for seven years at Cal Poly.
During his seven seasons at Cal Poly, Zepeda helped bring the team to their first Division I postseason appearance in 2009 and was instrumental in the signing and development of two Big West Players of the Year in Kyle Blumenthal (2005) and Grant Desme (2007).
Under Zepeda's watch, the Mustangs have also had back-to-back Big West Freshman of the Year over the last two seasons in Matt Jensen and the 2010 recipient, Mitch Haniger.
Prior to his time at Cal Poly, Zepeda spent one season as an assistant coach at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif.
Zepeda finished his collegiate career at Oklahoma, where he played in the College World Series in 1995. After being drafted in the 23rd round, he played for four years in the minor leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers organizations. He started his collegiate career at Fresno State before transferring to Cuesta College.
Shawn Gilbert returns as an assistant coach in his second season with the program, working as the team's hitting coach.
Gilbert comes to The Beach from Fresno Pacific, where he was the team's hitting instructor and top assistant. Under his watch, the Sunbirds set school records for home runs, doubles and stolen bases in a single season. Gilbert also has extensive experience in infield and hitting instruction. He will continue in those capacities with the Dirtbags, working primarily with the hitters and the infield.
A shortstop in his playing days, Gilbert spent three seasons in the Major Leagues, coming up with the New York Mets before stints with the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers. He also played one season in Japan.
Gilbert was drafted in the 12th round by the Minnesota Twins out of Fresno State, where Gilbert spent two seasons after transferring from Golden West College and Arizona State.
Justin Ramsey enters his second year with the Dirtbags and his first as the Volunteer Assistant Coach. Under his new position, Ramsey will work directly from the dugout and will assist with pitching instruction and on-field coaching.
Ramsey comes to Long Beach State from Sacramento City College, where he spent five years as an assistant coach. He was instrumental in the development of a number of Division I pitchers while at Sac City, including a pair of 2009 Dirtbags in Troy Watson and Cris Trout.
Also following his time at Sacramento City, Ramsey has served as the pitching coach with the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods summer collegiate league. Ramsey worked with two 2010 draftees from his first team in La Crosse, including Matt Bywater of Pepperdine who was drafted in the 7th round by the Baltimore Orioles.
In his playing career, Ramsey was a closer and relief pitcher for Oral Roberts from 2003-04. A 2004 All-American, Ramsey posted a 7-0 record with 13 saves as a senior, posting a 2.91 ERA. A two-time All-Summit League selection, Ramsey led the Golden Eagles to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. He ranks fourth all-time with 18 career saves for Oral Roberts.
Following his collegiate career, Ramsey played for three seasons in the Golden Baseball League with the Long Beach Armada, finishing third in the rookie of the year voting while simultaneously working in the offseason with Sacramento City.
Director of Baseball Operations
David Yamane will join the Long Beach State baseball staff in 2011, serving as the Director of Baseball Operations. Yamane will oversee the day-to-day logistics of the program, while organizing team travel and coordinating game-day activity.
Yamane is in his second year in conjunction with the program, as he spent last year as the Dirtbags' program coordinator, developing and managing all of Long Beach State's youth and showcase camps.
Prior to coming to Long Beach State, Yamane served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Long Beach City College, where he handled many of the administrative duties that he'll oversee with the Dirtbags as well as receiving on-field coaching experience.