Thomas Eager Announced as Cal Pitching Coach

Cal baseball has named a successor to Mike Neu, and as expected, it's Cal Poly-SLO pitching coach Thomas Eager.

As expected, the California baseball program announced the addition of former Cal Poly-SLO pitching coach Thomas Eager to head coach David Esquer’s staff, replacing the departed Mike Neu. Neu – regarded as one of the top recruiters on the west coast – left the staff earlier this month to take over as head coach at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

[MESSAGE BOARD: Replacing Neu]

Eager spent three seasons at Cal Poly – his alma mater – under head coach Larry Lee.

A source said last week that Eager has already spoken with all of the 2016 pitching commits, including two-way star Max Flower, Jared Horn, Chris Murphy, Rogelio Reyes and Jack Wolger.

The Mustangs pitching staff compiled an earned-run-average of 3.50 under Eager, and set a new school record in 2014 for the team’s lowest ERA in a season since moving to Division I (3.05). The Mustangs rode their pitching to a 47-12 record, also a program-best mark since the move, as well as a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Eager will take over a stocked pitching staff in Berkeley, which returns four starting pitchers -- Daulton Jefferies, Ryan Mason, Matt Ladrech and Jeff Bain -- with playoff starting experience, as well as veteran relievers Keaton Siomkin and Alex Schick, and the favorite for the closing spot – nasty freshman Erik Martinez.

He also inherits a robust pitching recruiting class, in Aaron Shortridge, Joey Matulovich and Tanner Dodson.

Seven of Eager’s Cal Poly pitchers were selected in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft during Eager’s tenure with the Mustangs, including a pair this past June. Left-hander Matt Imhof was Cal Poly’s highest selection during that time, when he was picked in the second round (47th overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014.

“Thomas Eager comes to us with a great reputation in both the collegiate and professional baseball worlds,” Esquer said on Monday. “He is considered one of the best pitching minds in the country and is equally well thought of for his ability to develop talent. We are thrilled to have him as part of the Cal baseball program and he will certainly be the next in the line of great pitching coaches here in Berkeley.”

Prior to his time as the pitching coach, Eager spent two seasons as the Director of Operations for his alma mater, where he pitched in 2006 and 2007.

Eager spent four seasons in the minor leagues after being selected in the fifth round in 2007 by the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Visalia, Calif. native finished his sophomore season at Cal Poly in 2007 with an 11-3 record, posting a 3.43 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 126.0 innings of work on his way to first-team All-Big West accolades. As a redshirt freshman in 2006, Eager compiled a 1-2 record with a 4.15 ERA. A three-year varsity letterman, Eager was a first-team All-Central California Conference selection as a senior at Merced High School. Eager was also a second team all-conference choice as a junior and helped the Bears to a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title as a sophomore in 2002. Eager, 29, earned a bachelor of science degree in business management from the University of Phoenix in May of 2012 after studying business administration at Cal Poly.

Thomas and his wife Jenna have one son, Trey, who was born on April 5, 2014.


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