FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Matt Curtis, who for the last ten years has been a major contributor in one of the West Coast’s most successful college programs, has been hired as head baseball coach at Cal State Northridge. Curtis comes to CSUN from Fresno State where he served as assistant coach, a program that has won five consecutive Western Athletic Conference titles, made four NCAA tournament appearances in the last five years, and won the 2008 College World Series.
“First, I would like to thank Dr. Koester, Rick Mazzuto, Janet Pinneau, Tom Ford and the rest of the administration at Cal State Northridge who were involved in the selection process,” stated Curtis. “I am honored that they believe I am the right person to lead the Matador Baseball program going forward. While I have developed a lot of deep relationships within the Fresno State athletic community, this is an opportunity that I have been preparing for, and I look forward to developing similar relationships at Cal State Northridge.”
“After an extensive search that produced a number of first-class candidates, the hiring committee and I felt that Curtis possessed the experience and energy needed to help the baseball program become one of the most successful teams in the Big West Conference,” stated Cal State Northridge Athletic Director Rick Mazzuto.
“With four top-20 ranked recruiting classes, numerous players who have received All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) or All-American honors, a National Championship, and reputation for pushing his students to become just as successful in the classroom as they are on the diamond, I am thrilled to have Curtis as a member of our staff.”
During his ten seasons in Fresno, Curtis compiled a 362-272-0 record. In addition to the National Championship in 2008, he helped coach the Bulldogs to five consecutive WAC titles, four straight NCAA Regional appearances, and playoff appearances in five of his ten seasons.
“We want to create and sustain a culture of winning, competing for the Big West Conference championship and the (NCAA) post-season. We want to enhance the tradition of the Cal State Northridge baseball program,” stated Curtis. “I know there is a strong core of returning players in the program, and I look forward to working with them to establish the foundation for the Matador program going forward. We want to prepare them to be successful on and off the field, and to be leaders in their lives beyond college athletics. We also look forward to recruiting talented young men with strong character to help us achieve our goals.”
Curtis first joined the Fresno State coaching staff as a student assistant for one season in 1998 before returning to the Bulldog bench two years later.
From 2000-02, he served as volunteer assistant coach, working primarily with the catchers and hitters in conjunction with his duties as first base coach. With his catchers earning All-American honors during his two seasons as a volunteer, Fresno State wasted no time in recognizing his efforts and was named the team’s assistant coach July of 2002 by two-time National Coach of the Year Mike Batesole.
Included in the last eight recruiting classes that Curtis was responsible for assembling and developing are 40 first-team All-WAC, nine WAC Pitchers or Players of the Year, 12 All-Americans, five Freshman All-Americans, 39 overall draft selections, and five first round draft picks. In addition, four of his recruiting classes have gained top 20 national rankings and the 2010 recruiting class contains four recruits drafted by professional organizations who will end up on campus at Fresno State.
“I think the university’s location in the heart of the San Fernando Valley is a definite asset to the program. It’s a talent rich area and is a tremendous area to recruit,” said Curtis. “The first order of business in recruiting is to energize the local baseball community and try to keep the best players close to home.”
During the last three seasons, Curtis also served as the team’s pitching coach, third base coach, and defensive instructor of catchers, helping produce three All-WAC pitchers, and one WAC Pitcher of the Year. Five of Curtis’ pitchers were drafted by professional organizations with another six signing professional contracts during his three-year tenure as pitching coach.
Curtis was also responsible for written communications with the Dugout Club, a fan based organization established to increase enthusiasm for Fresno State Baseball, and provide additional program resources. In addition to coordinating the annual golf tournament and “Meet the Team” dinner, he collaborated with alumni and members of Fresno’s business community to organize additional fundraising events.
“We are going to put a product on the diamond that is well prepared, exciting and fun to watch. I can tell you that we are going to do things the right way. The student-athletes are going to be successful in the classroom and give back to their community. We want to create an environment that the students, alumni, administration, faculty, sponsors, and fans of Matador Athletics will be proud of.” stated Curtis.
As the primary individual responsible for maintaining and monitoring the eligibility of his student-athletes at Fresno State, Curtis has seen one of his players receive Academic All-American honors, another 41 named to the Academic All-WAC Team, with numerous players each season receiving academic recognition from the university.
A four-year letterwinner at Fresno State, Curtis started 155 games for former head coach Bob Bennett. Curtis can be found on numerous program Top-ten lists including games played (215), at-bats (761), hits (235), runs (144), doubles (52), walks (116), and RBIs (127). Curtis ranks fourth all-time with 52 career doubles, 22 of which were earned in 1995 when he finished atop the WAC statistics in that category.
During his time as a Bulldog student-athlete, his baseball team competed in four NCAA Regionals and won two WAC Championships in 1993 and 1995. A two-time WAC Scholar-Athlete Award recipient (1994-95), Curtis also earned WAC Academic-All Conference and WAC All-Conference Catcher accolades shortly after the 1995 season concluded. For his accomplishments and successes earned as a student-athlete and coach at Fresno State, Curtis was selected in the 2003 class of inductees into the Fresno State Baseball Hall of Fame.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting in 1999, Curtis signed a professional contract with the Anaheim Angels organization. In his inaugural season as a professional, Curtis set a single season Midwest League record for doubles and was named to Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star Team. During his five seasons of professional baseball, he received the Ray Perry Award – given to Northern California’s most outstanding first year minor league player – and reached the Double-A level as a member of both the Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians organizations.
A native of Visalia, Calif., Curtis earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration in 2001 from Fresno State. Curtis and his wife Kimberlee have three children – daughters Lauren and Allison and one son, Jacob.
“It is an exciting time for my family, a fantastic opportunity, and I am ready to move forward and invest the time needed to create a winning baseball program at Cal State Northridge,” said Curtis.