SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A big part of two distinct baseball programs playing in the NCAA Tournament the last four years, Jason Hawkins accepted the position of baseball head coach at San José State University. Gene Bleymaier, the Spartans’ director of athletics, made the announcement.
Hawkins, who agreed to a four-year contract, comes to San José State after the University of Utah won the 2016 Pac-12 Conference regular season championship, the school’s first baseball title in the Pac-12 and first in any conference since 1997. The Utes concluded 2016 with their first NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament appearance in seven years.
The new San José State baseball head coach joined the Utes in 2015 as the associate head coach. Utah became the first team in Pac-12 baseball history to go from last place to conference regular season champion in back-to-back years since the league instituted the single round-robin format in 1999.
“First, I want to thank San José State for the opportunity to be its head baseball coach. I always wanted to be a head coach at the Division I level. I’m passionate about the opportunity to guide and lead a program,” says Hawkins, who turns 45-years old on July 23. “San José State can be a successful program. Getting people to believe is a big part of that. We can get things going and I am excited about getting started.
“(On the field) We want to be versatile, recognize weaknesses and seize opportunities. We want tough, and what I mean by ‘tough’ are disciplined and consistent, young men who are passionate about baseball and want to get better every day.”
Raised in Albany, Ore., he was instrumental in UC Santa Barbara’s recent baseball turnaround as the head assistant coach with the Gauchos during the 2012 through 2014 seasons. In 2013, the UC Santa Barbara program earned its first berth in the NCAA Tournament in 12 years ending the school’s longest period between post-season play.
“We are excited Coach Hawkins is joining us as our new baseball coach. He has a proven record of recruiting quality student-athletes from California and Northern California in particular. He was a big part of the recent success at Utah and UC Santa Barbara and we are looking forward to our baseball program growing under his leadership,” says Bleymaier.
“(At UC Santa Barbara and Utah) I was responsible for recruiting north of Los Angeles. I’ve had a lot of success recruiting the Central Valley and the Bay Area. I have great relationships in the area and have spent a lot of time in Northern California.
“We will recruit the best player. It’s important not to panic. We will not sign to sign. There will be pitchers available and we want athletic hitters who can fit into what we want to do,” says the new Spartan head coach.
In the last five seasons at UC Santa Barbara and Utah, 24 players he coached or recruited (22 at UC Santa Barbara and two pitchers at Utah) were selected in the annual Major League Baseball First-Year Draft. Players he coached at the two schools also earned 24 post-season all-conference honors in the Big West or the Pac-12.
The 1995 Western Oregon State College graduate majored in English and history. He earned a master’s degree in teaching from Pacific University in Oregon in 1998.
Hawkins began his coaching career at Springfield (Ore.) High School in 1995. He also coached at North Eugene High in Eugene, Ore., and at Desert Hot Springs (Calif.) High.
His first college coaching position was at the University of Redlands in 2005. The Bulldogs won 104 games and the 2006 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) in his four seasons. Hawkins was the head coach at Occidental College in Southern California during the 2009 through 2011 seasons. His Tigers’ teams had three sixth-place SCIAC conference finishes – compared to two sevenths and three last-place finishes the previous five seasons.
He and his wife, Angela, have two sons, Will and Cal, named after Major League Baseball stars Will Clark and Cal Ripken, Jr.
The talk about new San José State baseball head coach Jason Hawkins:
“First of all, I’m happy for Jason for an opportunity that’s well deserved. For two years, he established a really good culture in our team, as he was an integral part in helping us win the Pac-12 Championship this past year. San José State is getting a relentless worker and a good baseball guy. And that combination is really good in baseball.” – Bill Kinneberg, University of Utah baseball head coach.
“Jason is a fantastic coach, administrator and leader. Everything he’s touched has turned into gold. He’s going to be a great addition to the program. He’s extremely organized, detail oriented and his work ethic is off the charts. Jason is a tremendous communicator as he has a great balance with the players as a mentor and as a friend. He’s smart and has a great baseball mind. His development of players and leaders is what separates him from other coaches. San José State is lucky to have him.” – Andrew Checketts, UC Santa Barbara baseball head coach.
“If Jason brings the level of energy to the program that I’ve seen from across the country, then San José State has hit a ‘home run’ with this hire. He is a tireless recruiter who recognizes great talent and will bring great energy as the head coach.” – Dave Serrano, University of Tennessee baseball head coach.
Keep up with your San José State baseball team on social media!
Follow Coach Hawkins on Twitter @SJhawk29
Follow SJSU baseball on Twitter @SJSUBaseball, Facebook @SJSUSpartansBaseball and Instagram @sjsubaseball.