California head baseball coach David Esquer, the 2011 National Coach of the Year, represents the best in college baseball - first as a player, then as an assistant coach, and now in his 16th year as the leader of the Golden Bears.
As a player, Esquer was the starting shortstop on Stanford's 1987 national championship squad, and as an assistant coach helped produce six NCAA postseason teams and one World Series participant at Stanford and Pepperdine. Now during his tenure as head coach of Cal, Esquer has guided the Bears to a 2011 College World Series appearance and was National Coach of the Year, has led Cal to four NCAA Tournament appearances and was the 2001 Pac-10 Coach of the Year. In addition, he has mentored four players who were selected in the first round of the professional draft and has produced 12 All-Americans.
Esquer, 49, owns a 432-396-2 (.522) career mark with the Bears that includes NCAA regional appearances in 2001, 2008, 2010 and 2011. In 2011, he guided Cal to a 38-23 record as the Bears captured the Houston Regional with a thrilling, 9-8, victory over Baylor with four runs in the bottom of the ninth, and swept through a best-of-three series with Dallas Baptist in the Super Regional, to advance to the College World Series.
At the 2011 CWS, Cal dropped a close 4-1 decision to top-seeded Virginia before defeating Texas A&M, 7-3, for its first win in Omaha since 1980. The memorable season came to an end with an 8-1 loss in a re-match versus Virginia. During the 2011 campaign, first baseman Devon Rodriguez earned Most Outstanding Player of the Houston Regional honors, second baseman Tony Renda was named the 2011 Pac-10 Player of the Year and left-hander Kyle Porter earned Freshman All-America honors.
The success in 2011 came despite an initial decision in September, 2010 to discontinue the Cal baseball program due to pressure on the University's budget. Following a fundraising effort that has generated approximately $10 million in commitment, Golden Bear baseball was reinstated April 8, 2011.
Esquer has not only coached 12 All-Americans in his tenure at Cal, but also seen 67 of his players drafted and signed by the Major Leagues, featuring four first-round draft picks, including right-hander Brandon Morrow, who in 2006 became the highest draft pick in school history when he was the fifth pick overall by the Seattle Mariners. Esquer also helped develop center fielder Brett Jackson, a first-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2009; first baseman David Cooper, a first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008; and third baseman Conor Jackson, who in 2003 was drafted in the first round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Beyond the on-field accomplishments, the Cal mentor has also been instrumental in securing several improvements at Evans Diamond – including the new lights and video scoreboard installed at Evans Diamond during the 2013 season – and earlier the Carl Van Heuit Training Center, which provides the Bears with indoor batting cages, bullpens and workout facilities.
Esquer became only the 10th coach in Cal baseball history when he was named head coach of the Bears on June 10, 1999, replacing longtime Cal mentor Bob Milano. Esquer came to Berkeley after serving as the top assistant at Pepperdine from 1996-99. Prior to working at Pepperdine, he was the No. 2 assistant coach at Stanford from 1991-96.
At Pepperdine, Esquer was the program's chief recruiting coordinator as well as hitting instructor, infield coach and handler of the third base coaching duties. During his three seasons with the Waves, Pepperdine compiled a record of 112-63 (.640). During his six-year stint at Stanford, the Cardinal were 222-142 (.610) and advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times, including a trip to the Col-lege World Series in 1995.
A shortstop at Stanford from 1984-87, Esquer was a starter on the Cardinal's 1987 College World Series championship team. He earned all-tournament honors after hitting .350 with six RBI in Omaha. He also earned All-Pac-10 Southern Division honors as a senior, batting .318 with 41 RBI and 16 stolen bases. Esquer went on to play professional baseball for four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, California Angels and Milwaukee Brewers organizations.
Esquer was a three-sport star and class valedictorian at Palma High School in Salinas, Calif. He was tabbed the "Athlete of the Year" at Palma High School after being named team captain and MVP in baseball, football and basketball.
Esquer earned a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in sociology from Stanford in 1987. His wife, Lynn, is a former professor at Pepperdine in the graduate school of education and psychology, and a former assistant clinical professor in psychology at Cal. The Esquers reside in Moraga with their daughter, Gabrielle, born July 3, 2002, and son, Xavier, born December 22, 2003.
ESQUER'S CAREER RECORD AT CAL
2001 34-25 (NCAA Regional, Pac-10 Coach of the Year)
2008 33-21-2 (NCAA Regional)
2010 29-25 (NCAA Regional)
2011 38-23 (NCAA Regional, NCAA Super Regional, College World Series, National Coach of the Year)
Total 432-396-2 (.522)