SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Andrew Checketts, who has spent the past three seasons as the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Oregon, was named UC Santa Barbara’s new head baseball coach Director of Athletics Mark W. Massari announced on Wednesday.
Checketts becomes the ninth head coach in Gaucho baseball history and takes over a program that has produced the third-most Major League Baseball players in the Big West.
“Throughout the process, Andrew’s name kept coming up as one of the best recruiters and assistant coaches, not just in the west, but in the country,” Massari said. “In only a short time at Oregon, what he and Coach George Horton have accomplished has been extremely impressive. Andrew’s future is extremely bright and we’re excited that he decided to make that future at UCSB.”
Checketts helped build Oregon into a national power as part of the inaugural staff after the school reinstated baseball following a 27-year hiatus. His recruiting classes consistently ranked among the best in the nation, as did his pitching staffs.
In his coaching career at UC Riverside and Oregon, Checketts has had 36 pitchers drafted or sign pro contracts and he has coached 12 pitchers who were drafted in the top 10 rounds since 2001. Over the past four years Checketts has produced four consecutive top-25 recruiting classes, most recently bringing in a class ranked third overall in 2010 by Collegiate Baseball.
“I am thrilled at being given the opportunity to lead Gaucho baseball,” Checketts said. “UCSB is a place of excellence, both academically and athletically. I can’t think of a better place in the Big West Conference to build a championship baseball program.””
Prior to his arrival at Oregon, Checketts was an assistant coach at Big West-rival UC Riverside and helped the Highlanders win the Big West title in 2007 – the first outright Division I title won by a UC school in 20 years. During his first three seasons at UCR, the team ERA improved every year and in his first season there the team set a school record for strikeouts while also lowering the team ERA by three runs.
Not only has Checketts succeeded on the field at UC Riverside and Oregon, but he has succeeded at top-ranked academic universities, which will help with his transition to UCSB, which is consistently ranked as a top public institution.
“Besides the type of talent he has on the field, what kept being repeated by anyone who knew Andrew was what type of person and communicator he is and the strong family values he possesses,” Massari said. “Those are some of the traits we looked for in the search. We’d like to welcome his wife Michelle and his daughter Amelia Anne to the Gaucho family.”
Before embarking on his coaching career, Checketts was a standout pitcher at Oregon State where he went 11-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 13 starts as a senior in 1998. The West Linn, Ore. native was named the Pac-10 North Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball Second Team All-American, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Second Team All-American and was an All-West Region Second Team selection. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 21st round of the 1998 MLB Draft.
After his playing career, Checketts began his coaching career at Riverside Community College where the staff set the school record for team ERA and he helped guide the squad to their second consecutive California State Championship in 2001.