FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
Former San Jose State infielder and team captain Mark O’Brien is returning to his alma mater as associate head coach. Head coach Sam Piraro made the announcement.
O’Brien makes the short trip over to San Jose State from Santa Clara University, where he was the head coach of the Broncos for the past 10 seasons. O’Brien posted 258 wins at the helm of the Santa Clara program, becoming only the third coach in the 125-year history of the team to reach the 200-win milestone.
“It’s great to be back home,” says O’Brien. “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience here as a student-athlete. To get the chance to come back and work with your college coach, those are people you never forget in your life. He’s certainly been a huge influence on not only my life, but my coaching career and me as a professional.”
O’Brien played for the 1991 and 1992 San Jose State baseball teams as a starting infielder after transferring from DeAnza College, appearing in 109 games over two seasons for the Spartans and serving as captain of the ’92 squad.
During his 10 years as head coach at Santa Clara, O’Brien coached 27 MLB draft selections, including 2011 fourth-round draft pick J.R. Graham, who was chosen by the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round. As a coach at DeAnza College, Cal Poly, Stanford and Santa Clara, he has coached 53 All-West Coast Conference players and has had 28 All-Americans.
O’Brien served as an assistant coach at Stanford for three years prior to joining the Broncos. During those three seasons Stanford qualified for the College World Series, taking home a third-place finish in 1999 and back-to-back national runners-up in 2000 and 2001. O’Brien’s infielders led the nation in 2001 with a .977 fielding percentage and was among the top five in the nation in 1999 and 2000.
“We’re very fortunate to get Coach O’Brien over here,” says Piraro. “I think with this hire, it’s going to create a lot of interest, not only in our program (and) our alums, but a lot of the ex-players that Coach O’Brien played with going back into the early 90s.”
O’Brien replaces Tom Kunis, who is joining his brother in a family business based in the San Diego area. Kunis was the Spartans’ associate head baseball coach the last three seasons.