One of the most respected pitching coaches in the nation, Troy Buckley enters his fourth season as the head coach of Long Beach State after engineering an immediate turnaround within his first two years 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 Ateam 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.
That improvement continued in 2012, as the Dirtbags again lowered their team ERA, this time from 3.55 to a Big West best 3.08. Finishing above .500 for the second straight year under Buckley, the team was one game away from clinching the Big West championship, and finished with eight players receiving All-Big West honors, including senior Brennan Metzger, whose first-team All-Big West selection was the first for a Dirtbag since 2008.
Jesse Zepeda enters his fourth season 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.
In 2013, Baseball America recognized the Dirtbags recruiting class was recognized as one of the top-35 incoming classes in the nation.
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.
Mike Steele enters his first season with the Dirtbags in 2015. Steele came to Long Beach State with experience as A pitching coach on both the collegiate and professional levels and will work in that same role on that Dirtbags' coaching staff.
Steele spent the last seven years in various roles within the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. During the 2014 season he worked as an area scout for the Pirates, but spent the previous six seasons as a pitching coach in the minor leagues. He spent the previous two years as the pitching coach at Michigan State.
In May of 2008, Steele broke into the minor league coaching ranks with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats as a midseason addition to the minor league club's staff. He stayed within the Pirates organization for the next five years as a pitching coach. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Single-A Short Season State College Spikes and then moved on to the High-A Bradenton Marauders in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, he spent the season with the Single-A Short Season Jamestown Jammers.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Matt Cline makes his way back to Long Beach State as the volunteer assistant coach for the Dirtbags in the 2015 season. Cline is an alumnus of the Dirtbag program and went on to play professionally from 2007-12 in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system.
Cline played in Long Beach State's middle infield in 2006 and 2007, earning All-Big West honors as A second baseman in 2007. He was drafted after his senior season in the 22nd round by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Cline reached as high as the Brewers Double-A affiliate, the Huntsville Stars, in his final two years as a professional. In 2010, Cline was a Midseason All-Star for High-A Brevard County in the Florida State League. He hit .298 that year with 39 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases. Cline will work with the outfielders and be the first base coach for the Dirtbags.
Director of Baseball Operations
David Yamane continues serving as the Director of Baseball Operations in his third season at Long Beach State. Yamane will oversee the day-to-day logistics of the program, while organizing team travel and coordinating game-day activity.
Yamane is in his fourth year in conjunction with the program, as he spent a 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.