Aug. 24, 2009
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State baseball has announced that Troy Buckley will return as the pitching coach for the Dirtbags for the 2009 season. Buckley spent the last two years as the coordinator of minor league pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"Obviously, we're thrilled to have Troy back with the program. He's our best recruit of the year," head coach Mike Weathers said. "I know this was a difficult decision for him, because he was really enjoying his position with the Pirates. However, I think for his family's sake and for his future that Long Beach State was the right fit for him."
Buckley's return as the pitching coach is a great step for the future of the Dirtbags, as Buckley is a large part of why Long Beach State consistently has had some of the best pitching in the nation. In Buckley's seven years with the program, the Dirtbags never had a team ERA higher than 3.75, and ranked among college baseball's five lowest ERAs in four of those seasons.
"Having Troy Buckley back rejoin the baseball program is a tremendous coup for us," noted Athletics Director Vic Cegles. "Troy has an outstanding track record as a pitching coach at both the collegiate and professional level, and he fully understands and appreciates the tradition and culture of Long Beach State and Dirtbag baseball."
Under Buckley's tenure, Long Beach State produced three straight Big West Pitchers of the Year from 2002-2004 in Abe Alvarez and Jered Weaver. In three years working with Buckley, Weaver improved from an 8-4 record with a 4.37 ERA as a freshman to the 2004 National Player of the Year, posting a 15-1 record with a 1.62 ERA and 213 strikeouts, leading the nation in wins and strikeouts.
Buckley has had six pitchers he recruited and coached selected in the first three rounds of the Major League Baseball draft, and has seen six of his pitchers reach the major leagues, including 2009 major leaguers Weaver, Jason Vargas and Andrew Carpenter.
In 2005, after losing Weaver to the MLB draft, instead of a letdown, Long Beach State produced its best pitching season in decades. The team led the nation in ERA at 2.53, the lowest mark in Long Beach State's recent history.
Prior to joining the Long Beach State staff in 2002, Buckley spent three years on the coaching staff for his alma mater, Santa Clara, working as the team's hitting coach and recruiting coordinator. Buckley also spent two years as a coach in the Montreal Expos organization, working as the hitting and third base coach for AAA Ottawa as well as the pitching coach for the Expos' rookie league team.
In his playing career, Buckley was named the 1988 West Coast Conference Player of the Year and a second-team All-American after hitting .442 with 82 RBI with Santa Clara, setting Bronco single-season records for both categories. Over his collegiate career, Buckley drove in 188 runs and finished with a .364 batting average, 234 hits, 47 doubles, 35 home runs and a .606 slugging percentage, establishing himself as one of the best to play at Santa Clara.
A ninth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins, Buckley spent five years in the minors, reaching AAA Portland in the Pacific Coast League before turning to coaching.
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