Gauchos Add Matt Fonteno to Coaching Staff

Matt Fonteno (Photo by Tod Fierner/Saint Mary's Athletics)
Matt Fonteno (Photo by Tod Fierner/Saint Mary's Athletics)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Former Saint Mary's assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Matt Fonteno will join the UC Santa Barbara coaching staff, announced by head coach Andrew Checketts on Monday afternoon.

Fonteno, who spent the past five seasons with the Gaels, will serve in a similar capacity for the Gauchos as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator while also coaching third base. He will assist recently hired associate head coach Donegal Fergus with the hitters and offense, and will coach the outfielders.

"I am excited to have Matt and his family join the Gauchos," said Checketts. "Over the past five seasons, Matt has helped Coach Valenzuela elevate St. Mary's program to new heights. His experience, having run St. Mary's offense, will be valuable as he and Coach Fergus collaborate to develop our position players. Coach Fonteno is known for his diligent recruiting work, leaving no stone unturned in his search for players, and he has a reputation in coaching circles for his work ethic and professionalism. Matt is a great addition for Gaucho baseball."

Fonteno joined St. Mary's prior to the 2014 season and in just two years, helped turn the Gaels into perennial contenders on the West Coast. After a 16-39 record in 2014, St. Mary's improved to 28-27 in 2015, it's first winning season in six years. The 2016 season was a historical one for SMC as the Gaels went 33-25 en route to its first ever West Coast Conference regular season title, first ever WCC Tournament championship and first ever trip to an NCAA Regional. St. Mary's continued its success with a 37-20 showing in 2017 and its third straight 30-win (31-23) season in 2018.

With Fonteno on staff, the Gaels matched a program record twice, with four players selected in both the 2016 and 2018 Major League Baseball Draft. In 2016, it was also the first time four Gaels were taken in the top 20 rounds, with three being selected in the top 10. Overall, since Fonteno joined St. Mary's, 13 Gaels have been taken in the draft, including 10 since 2016 when Fonteno took over as recruiting coordinator. 

"I'm very excited to join Coach Checketts and the rest of the staff at UCSB," Fonteno said. "I've always had a lot of respect for the program and I'm really looking forward to coaching and recruiting at such a tradition rich program and amazing academic school."

Prior to St. Mary's, Fonteno spent one season as an assistant coach at Nevada and four seasons as an assistant at Chico State. While at Chico State, Fonteno was a part of the 2012 Wildcats team that won the NCAA Division II West Region and advanced to the World Series. While serving as the recruiting coordinator at Chico State, he brought in 17 all-conference selections, one conference Freshman of the Year, eight All-West region selections, one All-American and two MLB Draft selections.

Before arriving at Chico, Fonteno spent three seasons as an assistant at UNLV where he worked with outfielders, hitters and base runners and had seven players taken in the MLB draft.

He has also served as an assistant coach at Cal Lutheran, one of the top Division III programs on the West Coast, while coaching summer ball with the Battle Creek Bombers (Mich.), Petersburg Generals (Va.) and the Highland Park Blue Sox (Texas).

Fonteno graduated from York College in Nebraska, where he was an all-conference centerfielder and led the Panthers to their first ever national ranking. He also played collegiately at College of Marin in Kentfield, Calif.

Matt and his wife Lindsey have two children, Eva and Ty, and are expecting their third child in October.