OMAHA – One of college baseballs most accomplished skippers, UC Irvine’s Mike Gillespie, was tabbed as the 2014 National College Baseball Writers Association Coach of the Year by the association at a national media conference on Saturday, June 14, at TD Ameritrade Park. Gillespie is the seventh recipient of the annual award that is voted upon by the NCBWA Board of Directors.
Gillespie has seen his Anteaters overcome a regular-season tailspin to land in the College World Series for the just the second time in program history. After dropping eight of its last nine and being unranked in the NCBWA Top 30 entering the NCAA Tournament, the Anteaters won the Corvallis Regional, knocking off No. 1 overall seed Oregon State. UCI then took two straight at the Stillwater Super Regional to advance to Omaha for the first time since 2007.
That 2008 season was when Gillespie was handed the reins at UCI, after he took a season off following a remarkable 20-year run at Southern Cal. Gillespie and company made the NCAA Tournament in his first four seasons at Irvine, but never advanced past the Super Regional round.
Entering Saturday’s CWS opener vs. Texas with a 40-23 record, Gillespie has led one of his squads to a 40-win season for the 14th time in his 27 seasons as a collegiate head coach. He picked up win No. 1,000 of his career earlier in the campaign and ranks No. 16 on the all-time wins list with 1,036.
The American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer is no stranger to Omaha, having taking USC to the CWS five times, which included a 1998 title run.
NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport’s only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.