LOS ANGELES, CA – T.J. Bruce, a former player and assistant coach at Long Beach State, has been named assistant baseball coach at UCLA, as announced by seventh-year head coach John Savage. Bruce will serve as the infield coach, assist recruiting efforts and work with the hitters with assistant coach Rick Vanderhook.
Bruce spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Long Beach State (2005, 2007-10), helping lead the 49ers to NCAA Regional appearances in 2007 and 2008. He served as an undergraduate assistant coach at Long Beach State in 2005, guiding the 49ers to an NCAA Regional berth.
“We are very excited about T.J. joining our coaching staff,” Savage said. “He is an outstanding young coach who brings a lot of knowledge and energy to our program. T.J. will have a major impact with our infielders.”
Working with the infielders as an assistant coach at Long Beach State, Bruce helped the development of All-Big West Conference selections Troy Tulowitzki (2003-05), Evan Longoria (2005-06), Danny Espinosa (2007) and Devin Lohman (2010). Tulowitzki and Longoria have since enjoyed successful major league careers with the Colorado Rockies and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively.
Bruce spent the 2006 season as an assistant coach at Cerritos College, helping the Falcons advance to the Southern California College playoffs. Cerritos finished the season with a 27-17 record, tied for second place in the competitive South Coast Conference. Two players from that team were selected in the 2006 MLB Draft.
Bruce played for Long Beach State as a senior in 2004 after spending his first two seasons (2001-02) at Cerritos College and his junior year (2003) at Texas Tech. In 2004, he helped Long Beach State to an NCAA Super Regional. The 49ers fell one game short of advancing to the College World Series, dropping the best-of-three series to Arizona in a decisive third game that lasted 11 innings. That season, Bruce played alongside Tulowitzki, who has since earned the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year award and has been named a three-time American League All-Star.
At Texas Tech in 2003, Bruce batted at a .321 clip, playing in all 55 games (making 53 starts). He belted three home runs, collecting 11 doubles, 38 RBI and 44 runs during his junior campaign.
Bruce earned honorable mention All-South Coast Conference acclaim in each of his two seasons at Cerritos College, leading the Falcons to the first round of the Southern California College playoffs both years. He batted .320 as a freshman in 2001 and finished his sophomore year batting .330 with 37 RBI and 28 stolen bases.
A three-year baseball letterwinner at St. John Bosco High School, Bruce was twice named to the Long Beach Press-Telegram’s “Dream Team” as a standout shortstop. He earned All-League Most Valuable Player honors as a junior and senior at St. John Bosco, helping lead the Braves to the league championship his senior season.