SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – After spending one season as the program's Volunteer Assistant Coach, Neil Walton has been promoted to a full time Assistant Coach, head coach Andrew Checketts announced Wednesday.
"Neil gives us a level of experience in our program that is hard to find and it's a level we value a great deal," Checketts said. "From reaching the College World Series as a player at Fullerton to his experience as a professional, Neil will continue to be a great asset to our players and program."
In his one season as the volunteer coach for the Gauchos, Walton assisted with the team's offense, supervised the outfielders, coached first base and helped coordinate the Gaucho Baseball Academy. In 2012-13, he served as a student manager at Cal State Fullerton, helping the Titans to a 51-10 record, a Big West title and an NCAA Tournament bid.
Following his experience at Fullerton in 2013, Walton served as the interim manager/assistant coach for the Terre Haute Rex Baseball Club in the Prospect League. At Terre Haute, he oversaw the pitching staff and actually managed 20 games after the former manager accepted a collegiate coaching position.
As a player, Walton was a three-year standout for Cal State Fullerton. A slick-fielding shortstop, he played in 107 games over three years for the Titans, who were ranked No. 1 in all three of his years in the Orange County, and they won the national championship in his sophomore season of 2004.
Following his junior season, Walton was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 16th round of the 2005 MLB First Year Player Draft. He had been drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of high school in the 23rd round of the 2002 draft, but attended Fullerton in lieu of signing. Walton spent four years in the Tampa Bay organization, rising as high as AA in 2008, where he hit a career best .253 for the Montgomery Biscuits.
While he was a student manager at Fullerton, Walton completed his master's degree in kinesiology, graduating in May of 2013.
Walton replaces Jason Hawkins who accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of Utah.