Justin James has been tabbed to be the new head coach of the Point Loma baseball program, Athletic Director Ethan Hamilton announced, Monday, July 30. James will be just the ninth head coach in program history.
“Within a fantastic pool of very accomplished baseball coaches, it quickly became apparent that Justin is a rising star in this profession,” said Hamilton. “Most importantly, he is committed to his faith and integrating those values into our program. Justin is an excellent fit for Point Loma, and I am excited for him to build on the culture that he was part of creating.”
James returns to Point Loma after two seasons as the pitching coach at UC San Diego. Prior to his time at UCSD, James was the lead assistant coach at PLNU (2010-16). He started his coaching career at New Mexico Highlands University. James also played collegiately at Point Loma (2002-03).
“To say I’m excited would be an understatement,” James said. “I have tremendous pride in PLNU and want to thank Ethan Hamilton on selecting me to put my stamp on this special program and institution.”
Entering his sixth-year as a collegiate coach, Jeff Calhoon joins the Point Loma Nazarene baseball coaching staff as an assistant after spending the previous three seasons at UC San Diego. The Tritons went 118-57 during Calhoon’s time assisting under head coach Eric Newman. He directed the Triton catchers and was the first base coach, while assisting with recruiting, camps, scouting, field maintenance and baseball operations. Calhoon also coached third base the first half of the 2016 campaign.
Calhoon helped guide UC San Diego to two consecutive NCAA Division II West Region titles (2017, 2018). In 2017, UC San Diego posted a 44-19 overall record as West Region champions and national runners-up. The finish matched the best in program history, while the 44 wins were second-most all-time. While working with catchers, Calhoon’s catchers threw out runners at a 42% clip during his three seasons at UC San Diego.
In his first go-around in La Jolla in 2016, Calhoon mentored starting catcher Steven Coe to All-CCAA honorable mention and West Region Gold Glove honors, as the then-redshirt sophomore broke the single-season program record for the Division II era by throwing out 19 would-be base-stealers, while improving his totals in virtually every offensive category. Back-up catcher, at the time, Michael Palos was selected to the New York Collegiate Baseball League (NYCBL) All-Star Game during the 2016 summer. Palos then earned a spot on the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team after a stellar showing en route to the finals in Grand Prairie, Texas. While in 2018, redshirt sophomore catcher Nick Kitzmann earned All-California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) honorable mention.