|Alma Mater:||UC San Diego|
In 14 seasons as head coach at UC San Diego, Dan O'Brien has led Triton baseball to unprecedented heights and built UCSD into one of the premier programs at the NCAA Division II level. He is easily the winningest coach in program history, holding a career record of 454-283-1 (.616) through the 2011 season. O'Brien has been honored as national coach of the year twice. Over the past eight seasons, O'Brien's Tritons have qualified for five NCAA Division II West Regional showings, two NCAA National Championship Finals appearances and set a school record for wins four times.
Under O'Brien's guidance, the Tritons have earned berths in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship (CCAA) Tournament eight years running, winning the tournament title in 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011. UCSD has also made five consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and claimed back-to-back West Regional crowns in 2009 and 2010.
After reaching the national championship game in 2010, the Tritons lived up to their billing again in 2011, winning their third consecutive CCAA regular season and tournament titles. As the No. 1 seed, UCSD hosted the West Regional for the first time in program history. The Tritons were ranked in the national top-30 all season and held the No. 1 spot for two straight weeks in February. Ending the year at No. 6, UCSD finished with a 42-15 overall record and a 29-11 mark in CCAA play. The Tritons strung together a school-record 19-game win streak between Apr. 9 and May 14.
O'Brien was honored as the 2011 Daktronics West Region Coach of the Year, the NCBWA West Region Co-Coach of the Year and the CCAA Coach of the Year. Nine Tritons picked up all-West accolades and starting pitcher Tim Shibuya and utility player Blake Tagmyer earned all-American honors.
In 2011, O'Brien saw the results of a successful campaign to bring lights to Triton Ballpark as the venue hosted its first ever night game on Feb. 4, an exhibition against Point Loma Nazarene.
After going 41-15 and advancing to the DII College World Series for the first time in 2009, UCSD was even better in 2010. The Tritons recorded a remarkable overall record of 54-8 -- the best mark in program history -- and went on to capture conference regular season, CCAA Tournament and West Regional titles for the second year in a row. The top-ranked Tritons returned to Cary, N.C., where they defeated No. 4 Georgia College & State, No. 3 Central Missouri and No. 13 Franklin Pierce to reach the national championship game unscathed. Despite the perfect week, UCSD would come up short in the final game, losing a 6-4 heartbreaker to ninth-ranked Southern Indiana.
The Tritons, who swept three games at the West Regional to punch their ticket to Cary, wrapped up postseason play with a 9-2 record en route to the national runner-up finish. O'Brien was named the 2010 NCBWA National Coach of the Year for the second year in a row, while also taking home ABCA/Rawlings West Region and CCAA Coach of the Year accolades in consecutive seasons, as well.
The Tritons set a total of 19 program records in 2010, including most wins (54), fewest losses (8), highest batting average (.367), hits (794), runs scored (551), and runs batted in (502). O'Brien reached a major milestone of his own during the season, recording career win No. 400 on Apr. 30 following a 19-3 rout at San Francisco State.
O'Brien's squads posted the top fielding percentage in
the nation in 2008, 2009 and 2010 (including a school record .984 in
2010) and he coached two-time National Defensive Player Year Vance Albitz in
2009 and 2010. In addition, the 2010 squad had six ABCA All-Americans and two National Gold Glove winners. All told, 42 Tritons have
earned all-West Region accolades since UCSD moved to Division II in 2001, while 72 student-athletes have been named to All-CCAA teams.
O'Brien was named head coach of the Tritons following the 1998 season, when he served as the interim head coach. He led UCSD to a 20-18 record in his first season, as that team broke a total of five school records. In 1999, UCSD again posted a winning record, going 19-18 overall, followed by an impressive 22-13 campaign in 2000, the team's final year of Division III competition.
After going 14-34 in the program's first season at the Division II level, UCSD surprised everyone the following year, posting an overall record of 30-23-1 and a 23-17 mark in the uber-competitive CCAA. The Tritons reached the 30-win plateau for the first time since 1994 and had the second-largest turnaround in the country that season. O'Brien earned UCSD's Excellence in Coaching Award for the first time in his career, an award he has won each of the last three years, as well.
In 2004, O'Brien led the Tritons to a 35-24 overall record
and a 22-18 mark in conference play. Ranked as high as No. 10 in the nation,
UCSD qualified for its first CCAA Tournament, defeating Sonoma
State 6-2. In 2005, he directed the squad to 37 victories and a second
consecutive conference postseason appearance. The Tritons won 10 of their final
11 games, including a 7-6 victory over Chico State to sew up the program's
first CCAA Championship. After another banner year in 2006, UCSD
went 37-25 in 2007 and advanced to the NCAA Division II West Regional for the
UCSD went 43-18 overall in 2008, setting a school record for victories. The Tritons went 25-11 in league play, advancing to the CCAA Tournament once again, and qualified for a second straight NCAA West Regional. UCSD won two regional games, before being eliminated by Chico State.
The Tritons got over the hump in 2009, defeating Sonoma State 12-4 in the West Regional Championship game to earn a berth in the Division II College World Series for the first time in program history. UCSD, which also garnered a No. 1 national ranking for the first time at the Division II level that season, recorded victories over West Chester and Dowling in Cary, before losing to Emporia State in the national semifinals.
After graduating from UCSD with a degree in communications in 1995, O'Brien served as an assistant for former head coach Lyle Yates before joining him in Greenville, Miss., as a player/coach with the Greenville Bluesman. O'Brien helped guide the minor league club to the 1996 Big South League Championship, before returning to UCSD for the 1997 season as an assistant under Robert Fletcher.
O'Brien played two seasons for UCSD in 1994-95, leading the Tritons to a 33-8 record and a third place finish at the Division III College World Series in his first year with the team. He led the team in home runs, was a two-time team captain, and won the John Rolph Memorial Award. O'Brien can be found among the school's top-10 for career and single season putout totals.