DAVIS, Calif. – Rex Peters, who spent the past nine seasons as head coach of the UC Davis baseball team, has announced his resignation to pursue another coaching opportunity and associate head coach Matt Vaughn, who has been a part of the program for more than 20 years, has been named head coach, it was announced by interim director of athletics Nona Richardson on Monday.
Peters leaves UC Davis after compiling a record of 234-265-1 in his nine years as head coach which includes two postseason appearances. Vaughn, an Aggie pitcher from 1989-92, enjoys a long affiliation with UC Davis and has spent the last 19 seasons as an assistant under former head coach Phil Swimley and Peters.
“We greatly appreciate Rex Peters’ dedication to UC Davis and his contributions to Aggie baseball,” said Richardson. “Not only did he successfully guide our baseball team through the transition into Division I, but he has laid a strong foundation for even further success – both on the field and off – in the years to come. He has instilled great values and character into his student-athletes and we know he will make great strides throughout the rest of his coaching career.”
Peters’ time at UC Davis is highlighted by one of the most successful seasons in program history. In 2008, UC Davis’ first season as an official Div. I member, Peters guided the program to a 35-24 record and a berth in the NCAA Regional at Stanford. The season featured three different series sweeps, three victories against region rival Stanford and resulted in a school-record seven Aggies selected in Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft.
His 2003 announcement as head coach was quickly followed by immediate success as he guided then-NCAA Division II UC Davis to a 36-24 season, taking the Aggies back to the postseason for the first time since 1995. UC Davis swept through the West Region tournament and advanced to the national tournament for only the second time in school history. Peters, in his debut season with the Aggies, was honored as the ABCA/Diamond Sports West Region Coach of the Year.
Peters and UC Davis repeated the feat in 2004, the Aggies’ final year in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, finishing with a 37-15-1 overall record and a 32-7 league mark. During that stretch, the Aggies won 16 consecutive games and hit .332 as a team, setting program records that still stand.
During his tenure, Peters has coached 15 All-Big West Conference first-team honorees and eight all-region selections. In 2008, catcher Jake Jefferies was named to the Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-America third team. Peters has also seen 23 former Aggies selected in Major League Baseball’s draft, including Daniel Descalso who became just the second player in UC Davis history to land on an active roster when he was called up by the St. Louis Cardinals last season.
“It’s not easy to leave UC Davis,” said Peters. “I’ve seen this program grow tremendously and I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished. The program is in good hands and I know Matt [Vaughn] will continue to build a competitive Big West baseball program. He’s ready and it will be a smooth transition for both current and future Aggies.”
Vaughn owns more than 20 years of experience as a player and a member of the coaching staff at UC Davis. As a pitcher for the Aggies from 1989-92, Vaughn was an honorable mention All-Northern California Athletic Conference selection his senior year. He began his coaching career with UC Davis in 1994 under legendary coach Swimley and was elevated to the role of associate head coach in 2007.
“I’m very excited,” said Vaughn. “I can help this program be successful and I’m excited to have the position. I’ve been at UC Davis my whole career and one of the reasons for that is the outstanding student-athletes we are able to attract here. I’ve had the opportunity for 24 years to work with incredible people and I look forward to doing more of that.”
Vaughn, whose primary duties have focused on the development of the Aggie pitching staff, has been an integral piece to UC Davis’ success. In addition to postseason trips with Peters in 2003 and 2008, Vaughn was an assistant under Swimley in 1995 when UC Davis advanced to the Div. II College World series and tied for fifth place.
In his UC Davis tenure, Vaughn has coached 36 players who have gone on to sign professional contracts, including 15 pitchers. Ten Aggies have earned a total of 12 All-America honors and three have been named West Region Pitchers of the Year. In 2004, Michael Potter captured California Collegiate Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year honors, marking the fifth time one of Vaughn’s pitchers has been selected as conference pitcher of the year.
Vaughn has coached some of the best pitchers in UC Davis history. Under his guidance, two-time All-American Justin Reid posted a 1.82 ERA as a sophomore – the program’s lowest in 26 years – then struck out a school record 125 batters his junior year. Reid was inducted into the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame in June of 2010. Reid joins Dave McKae, Justin Fitzgerald, and Andy Suiter as one of several Vaughn protegés whose names are scattered throughout the UC Davis record books.
Vaughn graduated from UC Davis in 1992 with a degree in biological sciences. He received his master’s degree in management from National University in 1999. He and his wife, Dana, were married on New Year’s Eve, 1998. They have a son, Jackson, and a daughter, Casey.
“We couldn’t think of a better fit for the head coach position than Matt Vaughn,” said Richardson. “He is one of the longest-tenured coaches in this department and with that comes a great sense of the core values we strive to achieve here at UC Davis. Matt understands what our program needs to have a successful future at the Div. I level and we are excited to see what lies ahead for Aggie baseball.”