Dan Spencer was formally introduced as the eighth head baseball coach in Texas Tech school history today at a news conference held in the Masked Rider Lobby at Jones AT&T Stadium on the Texas Tech University campus.
Spencer succeeds Larry Hays who spent the last 22 seasons as the head coach of the Red Raiders and stepped down from his position back on June 2. He becomes just the eighth head coach in school history joining E.Y. Freeland (1925-27), R. Higginbotham (1928-29), Bettie Feathers (1954-60), Berl Huffman (1961-67), Kal Segrist (1968-83), Gary Ashby (1984-86) and Larry Hays (1987-2008).
"I am pleased that we have a head coach the caliber of Dan Spencer to lead our baseball program," said Texas Tech Director of Athletics Gerald Myers. "He has been one of the top pitching coaches in college baseball, leading Oregon State to two national championships. We look forward to Dan leading our program and know that he will do an outstanding job as the head coach of the Red Raiders."
Spencer, 42, rejoined the Texas Tech Baseball family back on July 2, 2007 when he was named associate head coach on the staff of former head coach Larry Hays. He spent the 2008 season in that role where he coached the pitchers and catchers and headed Tech's recruiting front. His 2008 pitching staff produced two top-10 round MLB draft picks in juniors Zach Stewart and James Leverton, both of which had never been drafted prior to this season. Stewart was taken in the third round of the draft by the Cincinnati Reds while Leverton was taken in the eighth round by the Chicago Cubs.
The return to Lubbock was not a difficult decision for Spencer who earned three varsity letters at Texas Tech between 1985 and 1987. As a Red Raider, he played two seasons under Gary Ashby (1985 and 1986) and one under Larry Hays (1987).
Prior to his arrival back at Texas Tech, he spent 11 seasons at Oregon State and the last three as associate head coach where he served as pitching/catching coach and recruiting coordinator. His pitching staff's over the last two seasons during his tenure were instrumental in helping the Beavers become the first back-to-back College World Series Champions since LSU in the late 1990's. In those two seasons, his staff's compiled 3.41 and 3.48 cumulative ERA's while leading the team to 50-16 and 49-18 respective records. His group led the Pac-10 in ERA in both 2005 and 2006 while his bullpen helped pave the way to back-to-back national titles by contributing 20-plus saves in both 2006 and 2007. Under his leadership, the Beavers had three pitchers and one catcher named to All-America teams and seven drafted in the top 10 rounds of the MLB Draft. Eddie Kunz, the ace of the 2007 staff, and catcher Mitch Canhan, the squad's leading hitter, were both first round draft selections in the 2007 MLB Draft.
"I am very excited and honored to be the head baseball coach at Texas Tech University," said newly named head coach Dan Spencer. "For the last 20 years I have thought that maybe one day I would have a chance to be a head coach but to be honest I never thought I would have a chance here until the last year or so. To have this job it's a dream. It's not a job that in the next five years, I'm going be looking to go somewhere else. This is the perfect place for me and my family. It's great to be a Red Raider."
His promotion from associate head coach to head coach will leave one coaching vacancy on the staff and that position will be filled in the coming weeks.
Spencer will coach his collegiate head coaching debut on Feb. 20 when the Red Raiders take on Southern Utah in the 2009 season opener at Dan Law Field.
THE DAN SPENCER FILE
Date of Birth: Sept. 10, 1965 (42 years old)
Hometown: Vancouver, Wash.
High School: Fort Vancouver ('83)
Wife: Susie (Celebrated 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday, June 12)
Children: Wade (13), Logan (10) and Elizabeth (4)
Education: Portland State University (B.S. History '90)
Mira Costa Junior College, San Diego, Calif. (1984)
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas (1985-87)
College Coaching Career
Tacoma Community College, Tacoma, Wash.
Assistant Coach (1991)
Green River Community College, Auburn, Wash.
Head Coach (1992-96)
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.
Assistant Coach - catchers, outfielders and hitters (1997-2003)
Associate Head Coach - pitchers and catchers (2004-07)
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
Associate Head Coach - pitchers and catchers (2008)
Head Coach (2008-)
Dan Spencer Quotes From Today's News Conference
"First of all, I need to say thank you to a lot of people. First, Coach (Larry) Hays for giving me the opportunity to come back to Lubbock and what he has done for me not only as a player when I was here but as a coach and a mentor. It's a very humbling deal being the head coach at Texas Tech. I'm extremely excited to get started and doing the things we need to do here, but without Coach Hays I wouldn't be here. I am extremely indebted. He wants me to call, but he just doesn't want me to ask him for anything, but I am going to continue to ask. (I would like to thank) Coach (Gerald) Myers, for giving me the opportunity. Coach Myers didn't know me at all when I got here a year ago, and now for him to feel confident enough that I was the right guy for this job, again thank you."
"It's been an easy transition for me because there's just one guy to hire because everyone else is a 10, and we need to keep those people here. I am indebted to Texas Tech for this opportunity. My expectations for the program at Texas Tech are that we are going to win and that we are going to win championships and there will be a commitment to detail. As far as my philosophy, as an assistant coaching position whether it was hitters and position players or pitchers and catchers the past five years, it's going to be relentless, high energy, attacking style, both offensively and on the mound. It's a blue-collar sport. A lady in the club about a month ago was telling me that she was moving back to Houston because she didn't think she was tough enough to live in Lubbock. She said 'You can't grow anything here. Everything that grows here has thorns, and it's hard and it's tough.' And I said 'That's exactly right and those are the kids that are going to come to Lubbock to play baseball, tough, hard-nosed, aggressive, kids who want to be thorny kids that want to live in West Texas and get a degree from Texas Tech and win some baseball games."
Coach Hays has won baseball championships at Texas Tech, and we need to win more. My goal is that the road to Omaha is going to run through Lubbock, Texas, and that's something we can do at Tech. Does it take work? Yes. Does it take players? Yes. Some of those players are already here, and some of those players are coming, and there's others out there to find, which we will. Coach (Trent) Petrie is in Minnesota looking right now. We will do everything in our power as coaches and a program to make sure we win and win right and that our kids graduate and that we do the things we're supposed to do as a Big 12 baseball team.