SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San José State baseball head coach Jason Hawkins announced the hiring of Dean Stiles, who coached 28 pitchers drafted by Major League Baseball teams, and former Cal Poly assistant Damon Lessler as assistant coaches.
Stiles will handle all pitching responsibilities for the Spartans and coordinating the defense. Lessler will serve as the recruiting coordinator, infield coach, hitting developer and coach third base.
“When I got this job, my number one priority was hiring the best pitching development coach out there. That is what Coach Stiles is. He has made a lot of players better and he will be a key to our success,” said Hawkins.
Since 2009, 28 pitchers that Stiles coached were drafted by Major League Baseball teams including 14 in the top-10 rounds including current Colorado Rockies southpaw starter Tyler Anderson.
Stiles spent the 2012 to 2015 baseball seasons as the University of Oregon’s volunteer assistant coach. He was instrumental in the development of one of the top pitching staffs in the nation. Oregon made the NCAA Tournament during all four of those years. In Stiles’ first two seasons, Oregon finished in the top 15 in the country with consecutive sub-3.00 ERAs.
In 2016, Stiles was the pitching coach for Florida International University.
The University of Oregon graduate spent one season as the head coach at Lane Community College in Eugene. The Titans finished the year with a 26-20 record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Tournament.
Stiles played infield at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., before transferring to Oregon. He graduated with a degree in journalism in 1982, and in 1986 completed his secondary teaching credential at the University of Oregon College of Education. In 1988, Stiles completed his Oregon secondary education teaching license at Lewis and Clark College.
“I first met Coach Lessler when he was at Chico State and he was an impressive recruiter, one of the most knowledgeable I've come across. Couple that with his energy, which is unmatched, and you've got a formula for bringing great players to this university. He's also one of the better infield coaches on the west coast," said Hawkins.
Lessler comes to San José State from Cal Poly where he served as an assistant coach for the Mustangs program during the 2016 season. He held the same capacity at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2015.
Prior to his time at Southern Miss., Lessler spent two and a half years serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Chico State, focusing his on-field coaching duties toward Wildcat infielders, hitters, and base runners.
The 2014 season saw Chico State post a 43-15 record and earn a trip to the NCAA Division II College World Series. Chico State ranked first in Division II in overall fielding percentage at .977 in 2014.
Lessler’s first season at Chico State saw the Wildcats compile a 37-18 record in 2013 and reach the NCAA Division II West Region finals.
As a player, Lessler was a shortstop at Castro Valley High School before going on to play collegiately at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, Sonoma State and Mississippi Valley State. Lessler also played abroad in Germany, Sweden and Australia as an imported American professional player before embarking on his coaching career in 2011.
Lessler received his bachelor's degree in mass communications from Mississippi Valley State in 2006, earning valedictorian honors at the university, before obtaining a master's degree in sports administration from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2007.
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