2014 Collegiate National Team staff named
Arkansas' Dave Van Horn leads a veteran staff
DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball named the 2014 Collegiate National Team coaching staff on Tuesday. The manager, Dave Van Horn of the University of Arkansas, was announced in April of 2013. Joining Van Horn on the coaching staff will be Rob Childress (Texas A&M Univ.), Ray Birmingham (Univ. of New Mexico) and Steve Rodriguez (Pepperdine Univ.).
"We have compiled an impressive group of coaches to lead the Collegiate National Team in 2014," said USA Baseball's general manager of national teams, Eric Campbell. "These coaches know what it takes to be successful on the international stage."
Rob Childress, the head coach at Texas A&M University, joins the 2014 Collegiate National Team coaching staff as the pitching coach. One of the top pitching coaches and recruiters in the country, Childress begins his ninth year as the head coach in College Station, Texas.
Childress was named the Aggies head coach before the 2006 collegiate baseball season after spending the previous eight seasons as the pitching coach for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. In his first five seasons in Lincoln, Neb., Childress coached under Van Horn who was the Huskers head coach at the time.
Under the tutelage of Childress, the Aggies have made seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including advancing to the Corvallis Regional final in 2013. Childress has also had three athletes compete on the Collegiate National Team, including Michael Wacha and Tyler Naquin in 2011, and Daniel Mengden in 2013.
Ray Birmingham, entering his seventh year as the head coach at the University of New Mexico, will serve as an assistant on the Collegiate National Team coaching staff.
After spending 18 seasons as the head coach of New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, N.M., Birmingham has transformed the Lobos into a national power -- making four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2013, the Lobos won the Mountain West Conference championship by a record seven games, their second-consecutive MWC title.
Under the guidance of Birmingham, New Mexico's D.J. Peterson, competed on the 2012 Collegiate National Team.
Rounding out the coaching staff is Pepperdine University's Steve Rodriguez, who batted .268 in 34 games on the 1991 Collegiate National Team as an infielder for the Waves. Rodriguez also competed on the 1992 Collegiate National Team.
Most recently, Rodriguez worked with prospective athletes during the 2013 USA Baseball 17U National Team Development Program at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
Beginning his 11th season as the head coach at his alma mater, -- where he won a national championship as a player in 1992 -- Roriguez has compiled a 326-253 record that includes four West Coast Conference championships. The Waves have made six NCAA Tournament appearances since Rodriguez took the reins.
Brett Hunter played on the 2007 Collegiate National Team while pitching for Rodriguez and the Waves.
Joining the staff will be certified athletic trainer, Mike West of the University of Texas. West traveled in the same role with the 2011 14U National Team as it went undefeated and won the gold medal at the 2011 14U Pan American Championship in San Felipe, Venezuela. West also served as the certified athletic trainer during the 2013 14U and 17U National Team Development Programs in Cary, N.C.
The staff will face international friendship series with Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba (in Havana), as well as complete a domestic exhibition tour and compete in the Honkbal Baseball Week tournament in Haarlem, Netherlands, where Team USA is the defending bronze medalist.
USA Baseball will invite players on a rolling basis during the 2014 college baseball season.