RICHMOND, Va. – UCLA head baseball coach John Savage has been named the national Coach of the Year by CollegeBaseballInsider.com, as announced by Monday by the national baseball website. Savage has guided the Bruins to a 51-15 record and their first-ever appearance in the finals of the College World Series.
After leading UCLA to a program-record 22-0 start in early April, Savage helped the Bruins engineer an exciting postseason run, highlighted by an NCAA Super Regional series victory over Cal State Fullerton followed by a berth in the best-of-three championship series this week in Omaha, Neb.
Savage has earned his first trip to the College World Series in nine seasons as a head coach (three years at UC Irvine, followed by six at UCLA). He was selected from a group of five finalists, which included Jim Schlossnagle (runner-up) of TCU, John Pawlowski of Auburn, Tim Esmay of Arizona State and Ray Tanner of South Carolina.
Sporting a 51-15 record entering the finals of the College World Series, UCLA is 36 games above the .500 plateau for the first time in program history. The Bruins finished second in the Pac-10 before hosting an NCAA Regional for the first time since 1986. UCLA was ranked in just one preseason top-25 poll (Baseball America, No. 23).
“This is always a difficult decision, and this year was no exception,” said Phil Stanton, co-founder of CollegeBaseballInsider.com. “UCLA has showed signs of breaking through the past few years, but did it in a way that not many expected. John Savage has led the Bruins to the brink of a national title one year removed from a losing season. We congratulate Coach Savage and his tremendous staff for a fantastic season.”
Savage has twice been named a finalist for this award by CollegeBaseballInsider.com – in 2006 at UCLA and in 2004 at UC Irvine. He was named Assistant Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball at USC in 1998.
CollegeBaseballInsider.com has covered Division I college baseball on a national level since 2002. Past coaches of the year include Brian O’Connor of Virginia in 2009, Paul Mainieri of LSU and Mark Marquess of Stanford in 2008, Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt and Rob Childress of Texas A&M in 2007, John Cohen of Kentucky in 2006, Pat Casey of Oregon State in 2005, David Perno of Georgia in 2004 and Elliott Avent of North Carolina State in 2003.
UCLA (51-15) takes on South Carolina (52-16) in a best-of-three championship series beginning Monday at 4:30 p.m. (PT). Each game will be televised live on ESPN, as both the Bruins and the Gamecocks seek their first-ever NCAA baseball championship.