Cal Hires Former Assistant Neu as Head Baseball Coach


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By David Bush, Staff Writer
Posted Jul 5, 2017
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2017

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New Cal head baseball coach Mike Neu
Mike Neu, who served as Cal's pitching coach from 2012 t0 2015, will become the Bears' head baseball coach the school announced yesterday.
He succeeds David Esquer, who recently left after 18 years to take over the head coaching job at his alma mater Stanford.

Neu, whose 2015 Cal pitching staff helped lead the Bears to an NCAA Regional appearance, has been the head coach at UOP the last two seasons. He guided a moribund Tigers program to 40 wins, including 22 in 2017. Only twice in the last decade has the school won that many games in a season.

"We are extremely excited to welcome Mike Neu back to Berkeley as the head coach of our baseball program," Cal AD Mike Williams said in a statement. "During his first tenure here, Mike displayed a keen understanding of what it takes to recruit and develop student-athletes for success both on the field and in the Berkeley community as a whole. That experience, combined with the time he has spent as head coach at Pacific, convinced us that he is the perfect fit to lead Cal baseball."

As an undergrad Neu helped the Miami Hurricanes to the 1999 national championship and was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 29th round of the 1999 major league draft. After four years in the Reds system, Neu was chosen by the Athletics in the Rule 5 draft in December 2002.

He spent the entire 2003 season in Oakland, compiling a 3.72 ERA in 32 relief appearances with no decisions. He did manage a save. He was traded the next winter to the Marlins and appeared on one game with them in 2004. After being released by the Marlins, he spent the 2005 season in the Dodgers organization.

He then served on the scouting staffs of the Royals and the Braves before he went into coaching.

He was pitching coach at Diablo Valley College before taking over as head coach there in 2009. DVC was 87-41 and won two Big 8 Conference titles in his three years. His 2011 squad was ranked No. 1 in Northern California and his pitching staff led all the California Community Colleges with a 2.13 team ERA.

He came to Berkeley as pitching coach in 2012 and developed a fine reputation as a recruiter was well as an outstanding teacher. The 2015 Bears, featuring future MLB draftees Daulton Jefferies, Ryan Mason and Alex Schick, compiled a team ERA of 3.03, the school's second-best mark since 1976. That team reached an NCAA Regional, Cal's first appearance since 2011.

After graduation from Napa's Vintage High, where he set Empire League Records with 21 career wins and 196 strikeouts, Neu attended Sacramento City College. He was a JC All-American, compiling a 15-0 record with a 1.44 ERA and 139 strikeouts.

He transferred to Miami and helped the Hurricanes to the 1999 College World Series championship. He saved three of the Hurricanes' four victories in Omaha. He was selected a College All-American and led the nation in strikeouts with 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Neu becomes the 11th head coach in Cal history and inherits a program that had two disappointing seasons after he left. Expected to be a national contender in 2016, the Bears were 32-21 and failed to earn a postseason berth. Last year they were 25-29.

Esquer announced his resignation shortly after the season ended and he finished with an overall record of 525-467.

"I'm unbelievably excited to be back," Neu said in a prepared statement. "I had such a great experience there for four years. I know how much of an important role I have and the challenge we have but I'm excited to be part of Cal again. It was a great experience at Pacific. I definitely feel like we had begun to build something special there. The administration and staff were great to me there. I really think that program is in a great place moving forward."

"I recruited a lot of these guys and I have a personal relationship with a lot of these players," Neu added. "With a younger group last year, I know they got a lot of experience and I'm excited to help them take that next step and get back to a NCAA Regional. It'll be exciting to share that common goal with a lot of guys I've gotten to share some time with."

Although he was with the A's for just the one season, he did make an impression.

"He's a fantastic guy," longtime San Francisco Chronicle A's beat writer Susan Slusser said in an email. "Very smart."

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