LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego baseball program has promoted J.T. Bloodworth to assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. The change was among several announced Thursday by Triton head coach Eric Newman.
Bloodworth has been on Newman’s staff in a volunteer capacity for the past two seasons. He takes over as the recruiting coordinator and hitting instructor, while continuing to direct the stellar Triton defense. Bloodworth replaces Jonathan Johnston, who accepted the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator position on new head coach Scott Friedholm’s staff at Division I UNC Asheville of the Big South Conference in Asheville, N.C.
“I am excited to announce that J.T. Bloodworth will be moving up into the role of recruiting coordinator and hitting coach along with the duties he already had with the infielders,” remarked Newman, who took charge at UCSD in 2011. “J.T. has worked really hard the last two years for Triton baseball, and he is going to continue to be a great asset to our program.”
Added Newman about Johnston’s departure, “J.J. was a great member of Triton baseball and we are excited for him and this opportunity. UNC Asheville is getting a really good, up-and-coming coach.”
In 2014, Bloodworth led a Triton defense that ranked fifth nationally in the NCAA Division II in fielding percentage (.974) and eighth in double plays turned (54). Picked to place sixth in a preseason poll of California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) head coaches, UCSD finished third in the regular season and won all three of its games at the four-team CCAA Championship en route to a record sixth conference tournament banner. The Tritons then earned the top seed and thus the right to host the 2014 NCAA Division II Championship West Regional, reaching the title round before being outlasted by league rival Chico State. They were 38-16 overall and 26-10 in CCAA play, with a final national rank of No. 14.
A native Texan out of Dallas, Bloodworth is a 2009 graduate of Dallas Baptist University with a degree in sport management. He earned his master’s, also in sport management, from the school in 2010. As a student-athlete, Bloodworth spent one season at the University of Arizona in 2004 prior to transferring to DBU and playing for Newman, the Patriot head coach at the time, from 2005-07. His coaching experience prior to this current stint in La Jolla has included stops at New Mexico State (2008-11) and Lon Morris College (2012), serving as the recruiting coordinator at the latter school located in Jacksonville, Texas.
In addition to promoting Bloodworth, Newman has added former Triton standout Nick La Face to take his place on the staff. La Face just completed an outstanding playing career this May after five years in the program as a catcher and designated hitter. In addition to coaching duties, he will aid in the recruiting process and camps, and have field maintenance oversight.
A North Hollywood product, La Face starred at Notre Dame High School prior to his days as a Triton from 2010-14. The three-time All-West Region performer was a .300 career hitter with 14 home runs over more than 200 appearances, and left the program ranked No. 2 all-time at UCSD in walks (134), No. 3 in doubles (60) and No. 8 in RBI (146). La Face saved his best for last as a senior, garnering All-America honorable mention thanks to career bests in batting average (.347), runs (42), hits (67), doubles (21), triples (5), RBI (54), total bases (104), slugging (.539), walks (47) and on-base percentage (.486). The Most Outstanding Player of both the 2012 and 2014 CCAA Championship led the league in doubles, triples and walks.
La Face completed his degree requirements in political science with a minor in education studies at the conclusion of winter quarter during this past school year at UCSD’s Warren College. He was a two-time Capital One Academic All-District 8 First Team honoree.
Rob Avila remains the top assistant and pitching coach, with Cory Burleson also staying on as an assistant. Burleson and Johnston coached first and third base, respectively, in 2014, with those designations still to be made by Newman for the 2015 campaign in the coming weeks.