GREENSBORO, N.C. - University of California San Diego head coach Eric Newman was announced on Monday as the 2018 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Diamond NCAA Division II West Region Coach of the Year, earning the distinction for the second consecutive season.
In his seventh year in charge, Newman directed UC San Diego to a 43-17 overall record, achieving 40-plus wins for the second year in a row, and 30-14 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Those 30 league victories were the most attained under Newman and second-most since joining the CCAA in 2001. His Tritons shared the top spot in the final CCAA regular-season standings with Cal State Monterey Bay, before sweeping through back-to-back postseason tournaments. UC San Diego went 4-0 for its record seventh CCAA Championship title in Stockton, and then 4-0 again for a second successive NCAA West Regional trophy in Azusa.
The Tritons won a program-record nine straight postseason contests through their opener at the NCAA Championship in Cary, N.C., before a pair of defeats ended another lengthy run. Twice during the West Regional, they rallied from six-run deficits, including the finals on May 21 over host Azusa Pacific, storming back from 7-1 down in the fifth inning to walk off 8-7 winners as the designated home team.
UC San Diego set school records by getting 528 strikeouts from its pitching staff and slugging 78 home runs, leading the CCAA in the latter category for a second year in a row. The Tritons finished with exactly 500 runs scored offensively, reaching that mark for just the second time ever. It was nearly double the 282 that UC San Diego tallied just two seasons ago in 2016, when the club managed only 13 long balls.
Newman's Tritons led the entire Division II with 329 walks, doing so for the second time since 2015. They were third in runs and sixth in fielding percentage (.974).
Under Newman's guidance in 2018, junior outfielder Zander Clarke was a unanimous All-American, the ABCA/Rawlings West Position Player of the Year, CCAA Most Valuable Player, CCAA Newcomer of the Year and CCAA Championship Most Valuable Player. Six Tritons in all garnered All-West Region distinction, with 11 earning some type of conference recognition, before a program-record four were selected during June's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in Tyler Durna, Cameron Kurz, Mitch Hickey and Ted Stuka.
The West Region trophy was UC San Diego's fourth at the Division II level, all coming in the last 10 years, and sixth in its history, with prior ones in 1987, 1994, 2009, 2010 and 2017. The 43 wins were tied for third-most in the program's existence, behind only the 54 from 2010 and 44 in 2017.
Newman has directed the Tritons to seven seasons in a row with a plus-.500 overall record, six of them with more than 30 wins, and now back-to-back 40-win campaigns.
Newman's 2018 staff included second-year pitching coach Justin James, recruiting coordinator, hitting and third base coach J.T. Bloodworth, first base coach Jeff Calhoon, and former Triton pitching stars Troy Cruz and Adrian Orozco.
The coaches of the year will be honored on Friday, Jan. 4, on the main stage of the clinic hall prior to the start of clinics at the 75th annual ABCA Convention, which will be held Jan. 3-6, 2019, in Dallas, Texas.
Newman now has three major awards in his seven seasons in La Jolla, having been named the 2012 CCAA Coach of the Year in his first go-around. Internally, he was the first-time recipient just last month, of UC San Diego's Excellence in Coaching Award.
The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its nearly 10,000 members represent all 50 states and 23 countries.