Cal baseball will welcome back former pitching coach and major league pitcher Mike Neu to become the 11th head coach in the program’s history.
Neu returns to the Bears following an impressive two-year stint as the head coach at the University of the Pacific. During his short tenure, Neu led the Tigers to 40 wins, 12 of which came in the tough West Coast Conference during his first year.
In his first go-around with the Bears under previous head coach David Esquer, spanning from 2012 to 2015, Neu earned a reputation around the Pac-12 as both a premier pitching coach and recruiter.
Following sub-par performances in 2012 and 2013, the Neu-led pitching staff made a tremendous leap from a bottom-feeder to one of the better units in the Pac-12, finishing 2014 with a 3.45 ERA in 2014 compared to a combined ERA of 4.29 during Neu’s first two years.
Cal’s pitching staff made even more strides in 2015, dropping their team ERA to 3.03, the second-best total since 1976 and the fourth-lowest in the Pac-12 that season, while issuing the fourth-fewest walks and second-fewest home runs. Under the tutelage of Neu, four pitchers finished with ERAs under three in the top-20 of the Pac-12.
That 2015 squad would reach the final of the Texas A&M Regional due in large part to Cal’s pitching staff, namely three of Neu’s pupils in Daulton Jefferies, Ryan Mason and Alex Schick, all of whom would be selected in the MLB draft.
“I’m unbelievably excited to be back,” Neu said in a CalBears press release. “I had such a great experience there for four years. I know how much of an important role I have and the challenge we have but I’m excited to be part of Cal again.”
Before his time at Cal, Neu developed a reputation at the junior college level, leading Diablo Valley College to an 87-41 record with two Big 8 Conference titles from 2009 to 2011. In his final year with the squad, the Vikings’ ERA of 2.13 led all California Community Colleges.