The 2013 season marks the fifth season with coach Joe Schaefer at the helm of the Sea Lions' baseball program. He has led the Sea Lions to a 151-120-1 overall record in his five years as the leader, winning the GSAC regular season and postseason tournament titles in 2009, and reaching the NAIA World Series in both 2009 and 2010. In fact, those two seasons under Schaefer were arguably the best campaigns in Point Loma baseball history.
Eight Sea Lions have been named all-conference during Schaefer's time at PLNU, and five of his players have been selected in the Major League First Year Player Draft: Kurt Steinhauer, Kaohi Downing, Steven Winnick, Chad Blauer and Ricky Gingras. Many others have earned spots on top Summer League rosters.
In 2009, Schaefer was named as the GSAC Coach of the Year. He was twice selected as the American Baseball Coaches Association/Diamond Regional Coach of the Year (2009-2010).
The Sea Lions went 18-31 in the rebuilding year of 2012, which was the team's last in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). Point Loma showed flashes of promise, but did not qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2001. Still, there is quite a bit of reason for optimism as the Sea Lions prepare for 2013 and their inaugural season in the NCAA DII as a member of the Pacific West Conference.
John Gunther, a long time San Diegan, oversees the Sea Lion pitching staff. His PLNU hurlers have been among the best in the NAIA as proven by the team's two deep World Series runs and having four members signing professional contracts.
Gunther has coached at the high school and collegiate levels for nearly 40 years, bringing a wealth of experience to the position. His coaching stints include time at local Kearney and Point Loma high schools as well as San Diego State, Mesa College, the University of San Diego and UC San Diego.
Gunther earned his bachelor's degree and teacher's credential at UC Santa Barbara, beginning his coaching career with his alma mater in 1968. After coaching at UCSB and Carpinteria High School, he coached and taught at the University of the Pacific for three seasons.
After receiving his master's degree at Pacific, Gunther moved to San Diego in 1972 and has coached and taught in the area ever since. In addition to his high school and college experience, Gunther coached various collegiate wood-bat summer league teams from 1973-98. Some highlights include a national championship with the Fairbanks Goldpanners and four league championships with the Beach City Cubs.
Justin James is in his seventh year at the collegiate level, fifth as an assistant coach for the PLNU baseball program, and ninth overall. He returned to his alma mater for the 2010 season and helped the team reach the NAIA World Series where they finished third. His main duties are coaching third base and to help in recruiting, camp coordination and opponent scouting.
Before returning to PLNU, James spent the two prior seasons assisting the New Mexico Highlands University baseball team under head coach Steve Jones. During that span the Cowboys won 70 games, twice reached the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) tournament championship game and qualified for the NCAA Division II Western regionals in 2009. During that year the Cowboys lead NCAA Division II in doubles (181) and team batting average (.377).
In addition to his coaching duties at NMHU, James was the strength and conditioning coach for the university's athletic teams and was in charge of game management, which included setting up every home sporting event up to NCAA standards and RMAC regulations. He also ran the school's intramural program.
James prepped at South Pasadena High School where he earned two varsity letters and was named the Tigers MVP in 1999. He helped lead SPHS to their first league title in 31 years and won the Pat Murphy Award and all-league outfield honors.
Ben Rosenthal is the newest member of the Point Loma baseball coaching staff. He joined the Sea Lions prior to the 2014 season. He will serve as the team's first base coach in addition to working with the catchers and being heavily involved in recruiting.
Rosenthal comes to Point Loma after serving one year as the head coach at Mira Mesa High School (2013) and two as the first assistant at Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, Nev.). During his one season at MMHS, Rosenthal led the Marauders into the postseason for the first time since 1994. The team went 22-15 and was a CIF Division I Finalist.
During his tenure on the Bishop Gorman coaching staff, the team won a National Championship in 2012 and was a nationally top ranked team in both 2011 and 2012. Bishop Gorman set a record with its seventh consecutive Nevada state title in 2012. The previous record of six titles in a row was set by Green Valley High School in the 1990s, where Coach Rosenthal was a high school player during part of the record setting run. Prior to Bishop Gorman, Coach Rosenthal spent one season at Faith Lutheran High School (Las Vegas, NV).