SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Despite just one full season as head coach, UCSB Baseball's Andrew Checketts is quickly being recognized as a rising star in collegiate baseball. Already named a "Coach on the Rise" by Perfect Game, Checketts was named to Baseball America's "Top 10 College Head Coaches Under 40" list, which was revealed on Thursday morning.
"It is not a surprise to anyone in Santa Barbara that Andrew has been named to this list," said UCSB Director of Athletics Mark Massari. "Andrew's experience at the college level and his unmatched drive for success make him a perfect match for our university and it's great to see that he is being recognized nationally as one of the top young coaches in baseball."
The publication cited Checketts's eye for pitching talent and knack for player development as his main strengths. Checketts headed nationally renowned pitching staffs at UC Riverside and Oregon as an assistant before being hired at UCSB. In his first year with the Gauchos, he oversaw a staff that set a school record in strikeouts with 451 and produced a pair of All-Americans in Andrew Vasquez and Greg Mahle.
After compiling a 2012 recruiting class that was ranked No. 12 in the nation by Baseball America – which topped all Big West teams – the Gauchos figure to only get better throughout Checketts's tenure. Checketts' record-setting win total for a first-year coach and his inclusion on the list are all indicators of a step in the right direction for a program looking to become a powerhouse in the Big West.
"The Big West Conference has proven that it can send teams to Omaha, and we desire to be one of those teams," said Massari. "That is why we hired Andrew, and the university is very proud to have him."
Checketts and the Gauchos will kick off their season with a three game series at Fresno State from Feb. 15-17. They open at home on Feb. 19 in a Tuesday showdown against the UCLA Bruins.