By Taylor Glaze |Staff Writer|
The Coyote baseball program has had major success after previous seasons thanks to new head coach David Martinez, who has helped turn the team around.
Four months ago, the California Collegiate Athlete Association [CCAA] coaches believed that Cal State San Bernardino would struggle in its first season under Martinez, after finishing the last two seasons winning only 23 games combined.
However, Martinez has led the Coyotes to the CCAA Championship.
“I never really read into polls,” stated Martinez.
“We still have it posted in our locker room as a reminder that no one is giving us a chance. There is only one way to move and that is up,” continued Martinez.
Martinez started his own baseball career at Redlands High School where he went on to play for Riverside City College in 1994 and transferred to play for UNLV in ’97 until he was injured and could no longer play.
He started coaching for our very own Coyotes in 2003. He moved on to coach for Purdue University, Riverside City College, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of New Mexico, Dixie State University and back to our program 14 years later.
Martinez said he came back for many reasons.
“To become a head coach, return home, and be around family. I am originally from Redlands and my wife is from Yucaipa. Our parents are still here and my young kids have their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins around for the first time,” stated Martinez.
After being predicted to finish in last place, the Coyote baseball team played in their first postseason in four years.
“The success comes straight to the players,” continued Martinez.
“They are the ones who came into this with an open mind and open heart. They are the ones who went to weights, conditioned, and showed up every day to practice with energy and enthusiasm,” added Martinez.
The Coyotes finished the 2016 regular season 22-27 overall and 17-20 conference.
“Besides the players taking the new ideas, system, culture, and running with it, the university gave me the resources to hire a great staff. This team or myself would be where it’s at without Brett Hambright, Joe Villa, and Ron Carmody,” said Martinez.
CSUSB has won just one conference title (2002) since becoming a member of the conference in 1991.
“The program will continue to grow. I just want to provide all the necessary avenues and resources to all the players to be successful on and off the field. I don’t see me leaving home,” concluded Martinez.
Senior Kamden Haglund and two-year veteran of the Coyote baseball program stated that, “A lot of unknown coming into the beginning of the school year (2016) playing for someone who didn’t recruit you or see you play before. But once seeing the program’s coach came from it really made him look like the real deal and be a good fit to turn this team around.”
The Coyotes are the No. 5 seed and went up against the No. 2 seed Cal State East Bay.
“He brought discipline and always focused on the little things first and never let us get ahead of ourselves when looking at the big picture. Also, he brought great food to the program, kept us well fed. Great breakfast and lunches,” said Haglund.
Coach Martinez has brought success and a new start for the Coyote baseball program and it is a hope that the team continues to grow under him.