UPDATED at 9:20pm on May 9th
We have posted an update to this story here.
Cal State Fullerton appears to be close to a resolution in the investigation of head baseball coach Rick Vanderhook.
According to a CBD source close to the situation, there was a meeting Thursday featuring Fullerton administrative members, including “all the university VPs,” that should bring a resolution to the situation involving Vanderhook, who has been on paid administrative leave since April 17.
While the meeting and the outcome was said to be “super top secret,” it is believed, if Vanderhook is cleared, he could be back as soon as today when the Titans take on UC Riverside at 7:00 p.m. PST on ESPN3/WatchESPN.
If a decision on Vanderhook’s future has been made, the players and team staff had not been informed as of midnight, according to a separate source.
When contacted, the school’s Director of Media Relations, Christopher Bugbee said there was no timetable and that he could not comment on whether or not there had been any such meeting.
The school placed head coach Rick Vanderhook on administrative leave and under investigation 23 days ago on April 17 after receiving what it called “allegations that it is obligated to review” in its two-sentence release that was published on NCAA.com, but not on the Fullerton athletic site. The release was also not immediately sent to the media mailing list the baseball program keeps.
Though several different rumors have swirled around the cause of the investigation, none have been able to be confirmed.
The players were informed of the school’s decision to place Vanderhook on administrative leave after they had already boarded the team bus for a road trip to San Luis Obispo to play then-No. 3 Cal Poly. The Titans were subsequently swept and lost their following game — a 16-inning affair at Fresno State — accumulating a six-game losing streak to tie a program worst at the Division I level.
Fullerton snapped the losing streak with a 10th-inning 1-0 walk-off against Hawai’i, starting a three-game sweep of the Rainbow Warriors. During the series, some of the players and coaches showed support by writing “28” — Vanderhook’s jersey number — in the bottom-right corner of the front panel on their caps.
In the series finale with Hawai’i, junior starting pitcher Grahamm Wiest eschewed his No. 12 jersey and instead donned Vanderhook’s No. 28. He called the decision a “silent protest” saying the investigation had “taken longer than we thought it would” and that “99% of us want our coach back.”
The Titans have gone 3-3 since with a series loss to rival Long Beach State last weekend. With 10 games remaining and its RPI currently sitting at 69, according to Boyd’s World, Fullerton has a lot of work to do to keep its streak of 22 consecutive postseason appearances alive.
The RPI Needs Report on Boyd’s World has Cal State Fullerton needing to win all 10 of its remaining games to enter the top 45 in RPI, the number that is generally the cut-off teams receiving at large berths.
In Vanderhook’s 13-game absence (one game shy of 25 percent of the regular season), assistant coach Mike Kirby has assumed his duties while undergraduate assistant Shane Costa has taken over Kirby’s duties as first base coach.