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Titans in the Pros!
Fullerton increased its total number of former players in the big leagues to 52 when Erik Komatsu made the opening day roster for the St. Louis Cardinals. He made is debut on Apr. 6 and legged out in infield single in his first big league at bat.
Twelve-year Div. I college baseball coach and former Titan catcher Chad Baum returns to Cal State Fullerton as the program's volunteer assistant in 2012. He rounds out first-year Head Coach Rick Vanderhook's coaching staff that includes assistant coaches Mike Kirby and Kirk Saarloos.
Baum, a veteran of four College World Series appearances as a Titan player and coach, returns to Fullerton after spending the last seven seasons as an assistant coach at both UC Irvine and Santa Clara.
Baum, 33, first served on a Titan staff in 2000 as an undergraduate assistant coach for then-Titan skipper George Horton. The next season he assumed the volunteer position and completed a coaching staff that led Fullerton to three College World Series appearances and the school's fourth national championship between 2001 and 2004.
His expertise behind the plate helped him tutor 2004 All-American and Johnny Bench Award winner Kurt Suzuki, who has since gone on to to a five-year major league career with the Oakland A's. In all, Baum worked with 17 Titan position players that were selected in the major league draft and also worked with Titan major leaguers Mike Rouse (2001), Shane Costa (2002), Justin Turner and Blake Davis (2004).
In 2005, he left Fullerton to be a part of Dave Serrano's first staff at UC Irvine, where he served two seasons as the Anteaters' first base coach, hitting instructor and catching tutor.
He moved out of the Big West Conference and into the West Coast Conference in 2007 when he joined Mark O'Brien's staff at Santa Clara. While in the Bay Area, Baum served as the Broncos' third base coach, primary hitting/catching instructor and also assisted in the program's recruiting efforts.
The Broncos hit .325 and scored more than seven runs per game in both 2008 (ranked 19th in the nation in batting average) and 2010 (ranked 42nd in the nation in batting average), while leading the WCC in nearly all offensive categories those same years.
In five seasons with Santa Clara, he helped five position players get drafted including catchers Tommy Medica (14th round) and Geoff Klein (15th round).
Baum, who graduated with a degree in kinesiology in 1999, was a Titan team captain in 1998 and again in 1999, when Fullerton reached the College World Series. Baum appeared in 38 games over the two-year stretch and hit three home runs in just 44 at-bats. He was also reliable behind the plate, turning in a perfect 1.000 career fielding percentage (70 chances).
Prior to his pair of seasons in a Titan uniform, Baum spent a season each at Santa Ana College and Golden West College. Baum batted .306 in 1997 for the Dons, who were ranked No.1 in the country during most of the season. He was selected in the 42nd round of the 1997 draft by the San Francisco Giants.
Baum prepped for Coach Mike Najera at Canyon H.S. in Anaheim Hills and earned honorable-mention All-Century League honors. While at Canyon, Baum hit one of nine home runs that set a one-game CIF record for the Comanches.
Rick Vanderhook was named the Titans Head coach on June 24, 2011, becoming the program's fifth Div. I head coach, replacing Dave Serrano who left after four seasons for a similar post at the University of Tennessee.
A coaching veteran of 12 Div. I conference championships, 20 postseason appearances, eight Super Regionals appearances, 11 trips to the College World Series and two national championships, Vanderhook comes back to lead a program that has been a fixture among the nation's elite since 1975.
Vanderhook returns home to Fullerton, where he spent the better part of a quarter century as a player and assistant coach under Head Coaches Augie Garrido, Larry Cochell and George Horton. He was also an assistant coach along side now-departed coach Dave Serrano from 1997-2004.
He begins his 22nd season with the Titans, and will become the longest-serving baseball coach in school history. He and Garrido are tied with 21 years of service.
Vanderhook has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach to John Savage at UCLA, where he helped lead the Bruins to a Pac-10 conference title, a pair of postseason appearances and a runner-up finish at the 2010 College World Series.
He began his coaching career as an assistant to Garrido from 1985-88, serving as the bullpen coach for the first two years before stepping into the third base coaching box and working with the hitters and defense in 1987.
After spending two seasons (1989-1990) as an assistant to former Fullerton assistant coach Bill Kernen at Cal State Northridge, Vanderhook returned with Garrido to Cal State Fullerton in 1991 and remained through the 2007 season.
Vanderhook, 50, has registered a 1026-465-2 (.688) career record as a Div. I assistant over 24 seasons, and a 1095-506-3 mark that includes two more seasons at Northridge, a Div. II school in 1989-90.
As far as assistant coaches go, few can top the success that "Hook" has produced over the course of his career. He has had his hand in the development of 29 position player All-Americans, 10 conference players of the year, three national players of the year, two USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award winners, and four U.S. Olympians. In his tenure, he has seen 72 position players drafted - including four first-rounders - with 16 of them ascending to the major leagues.
He has directed some of the finest offenses in Cal State Fullerton history, producing six of school's Top 10 team batting averages, including a school record .338 in 1999. Six of his squads rank among the Top 10 in hits and RBI and five of them rank in the Top 10 in home runs. Seven more of his offenses rank among the Top 10 in runs and eight of them rank in runs per game.
Most recently in 2010, he guided the UCLA offense to a .304 team batting average, the program's highest mark since 2001. The Bruins also registered a .397 on-base percentage and collected 417 RBI, the highest totals for any UCLA team since 2000.
A product of the prominent Cerritos College program where he played for Horton, Vanderhook originally came to the Titans in 1983 when he took a redshirt season. He was a member of the Titans' 1984 national championship team, earning his first of three Cal State Fullerton championship rings.
Mike Kirby rejoins the Cal State Fullerton program as an assistant for newly-hired head coach Rick Vanderhook.
Vanderhook was an assistant to both Titan head coaches Augie Garrido and George Horton from 1985-2007, and is returning to Cal State Fullerton after a brief three-year stint as an assistant coach to UCLA's John Savage.
Kirby was an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton for nine seasons from 1991-99, working with Vanderhook. During that time the pair were part of a coaching staff that won the 1995 College World Championship, as well as making four College World Series appearances (1992, '94, '95, '99) while with the Titans.
Before his three-year tenure at Oregon, Kirby spent one season in 2008 as an assistant coach at UNLV.
During his coaching career, Kirby has coached 23 student-athletes who earned All-American honors during their collegiate careers. Including, three first round draft choices and US Olympians. In addition, he has had 38 position players drafted under his watch.
Responsible for working with Oregon's hitters, baserunners and catching corps as well as assisting in recruiting, Kirby's effort was a big part of the Ducks' success over the past three seasons.
Oregon finished 2010 with a 40-24 record, and reached the Norwich Regional elimination game as the No. 3 seed. The season was much different than the 2009 campaign (14-42), and UO's magnificent turnaround was the second-best in NCAA history since 1998.
His effort in teaching Oregon its small-ball offense reaped rewards. The Ducks executed 78 sacrifices to lead the country in 2010, and while it maybe not a power stat, it surely helped UO double its 2009 run total from 158 to 376.
Kirby also played a large role in what has proven to be four successful recruiting classes for the Ducks, claiming three consecutive top-25 recruiting classes from 2008-10.
Kirby joined the Oregon baseball program in September of 2008 to complete the coaching staff that would usher in the first Ducks' baseball season in 28 years.
Before making the move to Eugene, Kirby spent the 2008 season with the UNLV baseball program, serving as the team's third base coach while also working with catchers, hitters and baserunners. During which time Kirby helped first baseman Xavier Scruggs regain his power stroke, resulting in the Mountain West Conference Triple Crown by leading the league in batting average (.379), home runs (20) and RBI (65). Scruggs is also just the second player in MWC history to earn the Triple Crown. In addition, he directed the Rebel baseball camps.
Kirby spent nine years prior to his time at UNLV working with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.