In only two seasons at the helm of the Cal State Fullerton
baseball program, head coach Rick Vanderhook has quickly ingrained
a hard-working philosophy, and he was rewarded with a five-year
contract extension through the 2018 season on April 15, 2013.
Vanderhook enters the 2013-14 season in his 26th year
as a Titan, and his third as the program’s skipper.
During the past two years, Vanderhook has won two Big West
Conference championships, garnered two Big West Coach of the Year
awards and has guided the Titans to back-to-back NCAA postseason
appearances, including a run to the Super Regionals in 2013, as
Fullerton fell to eventual-College World Series champion UCLA.
In addition, over the past two seasons, Vanderhook has coached
two Big West Conference pitchers of the year as well as one
conference player of the year, one conference freshman pitcher of
the year and one conference freshman player of the year. In
addition, Vanderhook has tutored five All-Americans and one
national freshman pitcher of the year.
Also in the past two seasons, five Titans have been drafted.
The individual success hasn’t hindered the team success as
Vanderhook’s head coaching record enters 2014 at 87-31
The 2013 Titans completed the season with a record of 51-10
(.836), the second-best winning percentage in program history, and
the club finished the regular season (48-8) with single-digit
losses for only the second time in program history.
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
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 since
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, and the Titans’
22nd consecutive NCAA appearance (and his 22nd as well).
Furthermore, the 2012 recruiting class was ranked
23rd in the nation.
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 1997-2004.
The 2014 campaign will be his 24th season with the Titans.
In 2012, he surpassed Garrido as the longest-serving baseball coach
in school history. He and Garrido had been tied with 21 years of
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 Series.
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 season.
Vanderhook, 52, 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
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.
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
Vanderhook and his wife, April, reside in Yorba Linda, Calif.,
with their daughters, Noelle (17) and Autumn (15), and their son,
R.J. (13), who serves as the Titans’ bat boy.
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