After two seasons at the helm of the Cal State
Fullerton baseball program, head coach Rick Vanderhook quickly
ingrained a hard-working philosophy, and he was rewarded with a
five-year contract extension through the 2018 season on April 15,
The 2014 season was his 26th year as a Titan, and his
third as the program’s skipper.
During the past three years, Vanderhook has won two
Big West Conference championships, garnered two Big West Coach of
the Year awards and has guided the Titans to three straight NCAA
postseason appearances, including a run to the Super Regionals in
2013, as Fullerton fell to eventual-College World Series champion
In addition, over the past three seasons, Vanderhook
has coached two Big West Conference pitchers of the year as well as
one conference player of the year, two conference freshman pitchers
of the year and one conference freshman player of the year. In
addition, Vanderhook has tutored seven All-Americans and one
national freshman pitcher of the year.
Also in the past three seasons, 12 Titans have been
drafted including seven in 2013, the most since 2010.
The individual success hasn’t hindered the team
success as Vanderhook’s head coaching record enters 2015 at
The 2014 Titans completed the season with a record of
34-24 (.586), winning seven consecutive games to end the year in
order to secure the program’s 23rd consecutive trip to the
NCAA postseason and 36th in school history. He also secured his
100th career coaching victory on March 23, 2013 in a 6-5 win over
Long Beach State at Goodwin Field.
Vanderhook, a former Titan player and assistant
coach, was named the Titans’ head coach on June 24, 2011,
becoming the program’s fifth Div. I head coach. He
replaced Dave Serrano, who left after four seasons for a similar
post at the University of Tennessee.
With 12 Div. I conference championships, 20
postseason appearances, eight Super Regionals appearances, 11 trips
to the College World Series and two national championships already
to his coaching credit, Vanderhook came back to Fullerton to lead a
program that has been a fixture among the nation’s elite
He hasn’t missed a beat, taking the Titans to
back-to-back Big West Conference championships in 2012 and 2013
(14), a final No. 10 ranking following the 2013 season.
Furthermore, the 2012 recruiting class was ranked
23rd in the nation while the 2013 class was rated 12th.
Vanderhook spent the better part of a quarter century
under head coaches Augie Garrido, Larry Cochell and George Horton.
He was also an assistant coach along side Serrano from
The 2015 campaign will be his 25th season with the
Titans as a coach. In 2012, he surpassed Garrido as the
longest-serving baseball coach in school history. He and Garrido
had been tied with 21 years of service.
Vanderhook spent three seasons (2009-11) 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
He began his coaching career as an assistant to
Garrido from 1985-87, 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. He remained on
staff in 1988 under Cochell but then spent two seasons (1989-1990)
as an assistant to former Fullerton assistant coach Bill Kernen at
Cal State Northridge. Vanderhook returned to Cal State
Fullerton with Garrido in 1991 and remained through the 2007
Vanderhook, 53, 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
As far as assistant and head coaches go, few can top
the success that “Hook” produced over the course of his
career. He has had his hand in the development of 30
position-player All-Americans, 11 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
76 position players drafted - including four first-rounders - with
17 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
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.
Vanderhook prepped at Lakewood High School and
received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from
Trinity University in 2003.
Vanderhook and his wife, April, reside in Yorba
Linda, Calif., with their daughters, Noelle (18) and Autumn (16),
and their son, R.J. (13), who serves as the Titans’ bat
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT COACH VANDERHOOK
"Rick comes from a great baseball family and he has worked hard
for this opportunity. He represents the essence of Titans baseball.
He represents the spirit of the baseball program at Cal State
Fullerton and I am very happy for him and his family."
-- University of Texas Head Coach Augie Garrido
"Cal State Fullerton baseball's administration has made a great
selection in Rick Vanderhook
as their new baseball coach. He is one of the top coaches in the
country and has a very bright baseball mind. He is an exceptional
coach, recruiter and mentor of players. He has been an ambassador
at Fullerton and UCLA and the job he has done as an assistant coach
at both universities has been exemplary. He has been an
instrumental part of three decades of Titan baseball excellence and
now gets the opportunity to sit in the head coach's chair. I'm sure
Rick will continue the great heritage of Titan baseball into the
future. I congratulate Rick and his family for an opportunity that
they all deserve. I wish him well."
-- University of Oregon Head Coach George
"Rick did an outstanding job for our program the last three
years. I am very excited for him and his new opportunity, one that
-- UCLA Head Coach John Savage
"Congratulations to Rick "Hooky" Vanderhook. It is a great day
for Titan Baseball when a coach, friend and mentor for hundreds of
players over the course of 20-plus years is hired to lead the Titan
program. There is no doubt that Hooky represents what Titan
Baseball is all about and will continue to teach these young
players the hard work and traditions that makes TITAN BASEBALL what
-- Former Titan catcher and U.S. Olympian Brian
"I am very excited about the decision the Cal State Fullerton
administration has made to bring back Rick Vanderhook
as its head coach. If anything is guaranteed from this hire it is
that the Titans will be tough and competitive. Rick knows what it
takes to be successful and he has instilled it in me and the
hundreds of other players he has coached over the last 26
-- Former Titan infielder and current New York Mets second