Rob Avila is in his sixth season as part of the University of California San Diego baseball program in 2017. He joined head coach Eric Newman's first staff in September of 2011, became the top assistant ahead of the 2013 campaign, and was elevated to the role of associate head coach in December of 2015. Avila serves as UC San Diego's pitching coach while assisting with recruiting and coordinating camps, among other administrative duties.
During Avila's time on campus, the Tritons have gone 164-106 overall (.607) and 119-74 (.617) in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), arguably the toughest conference nationally in the NCAA Division II. UCSD has produced a winning record in all five seasons, two conference tournament titles in 2012 and 2014, and one CCAA regular-season banner in 2012. The Tritons have qualified for the CCAA Championship four times, including the last three, and earned three NCAA berths, advancing to a pair of West Regional finals.
The UCSD pitching staff has placed among the top three in the CCAA in ERA in four of the past five years. Avila has mentored five Triton arms who have been offered professional contracts, in Justin Donatella, Jeff Rauh, Trevor Scott, Elias Tuma, and current assistant coach Tony York. Donatella, a consensus 2015 All-American, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Pitcher of the Year and CCAA Most Valuable Pitcher, was the program's highest Major League Baseball draft pick in almost three decades as the 15th-round selection of the Arizona Diamondbacks that June.
A stellar 2015 campaign for the Tritons and Avila's pitching unit saw UCSD break program records for team earned-run average (2.84), shutouts (13), strikeouts (469) and strikeouts per nine innings (8.72), while finishing second in ERA in the CCAA and sixth in the country. The Tritons went 36-21 and advanced through to the Division II West Region finals for the second year in succession.
The 2016 season was a 13th straight in which UCSD produced a winning overall record (31-21), with Avila's group posting the second-best ERA (3.91) in the CCAA with 35 of 52 games having been started by true freshmen.
In his first year in La Jolla, Avila guided a staff that ranked third in the CCAA and 57th in Division II with a 3.88 ERA. The Tritons won their fourth consecutive CCAA regular-season and tournament titles. Junior ace Ryan Goodbrand posted an unblemished 11-0 record to earn All-America honorable mention, while three senior pitchers, Rauh, Tuma and York, were offered professional contracts at the end of the season. In 2013, the Tritons had the CCAA's third-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.18).
Prior to joining the Tritons, Avila was the head coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., from 2006-09, where he led the Sailfish to two National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Region championships in four seasons. He was named the NCCAA South Region Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2009. In both of those years, the Sailfish finished ninth in the NCCAA. During his tenure, Avila coached one All-American and 22 all-region selections. Three players went on to sign professional contracts.
In 2010, Avila was an assistant athletics director for operations at Palm Beach Atlantic. He was also the school's head strength and conditioning coordinator from 2005-10. Avila began his coaching career in 2001 as an assistant at Mendocino College in Ukiah.
Avila's baseball career spanned both the collegiate and professional levels. He garnered all-region distinction at Fresno City College (1997) and was a two-time All-NAIA Independent pick at The Master's College (1998-99) in Santa Clarita. In 1999, Avila was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 18th round. He spent five years in the minor leagues, including time with the Double-A Reading Phillies.
Avila earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 2002 from The Master's and a master's degree in the same field from Azusa (Calif.) Pacific University in 2005.
Avila's wife, Bethany, was a standout volleyball player at The Master's. They reside in Oceanside with their three daughters, Violet, Elaina and Emme, and son Trey.