Pacific Hires California Assistant Mike Neu
The University of the Pacific has hired California assistant and pitching coach Mike Neu as its new head coach, a move that certainly proves the administration is committed to winning at a high level.
Neu’s hire doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The Tigers parted ways with long-time head coach Ed Sprague a couple of weeks ago, and UOP quickly moved on several very solid candidates. USC assistant Matt Curtis was in the mix for the position, as was local favorite and talented junior college head coach Reed Peters, among others.
The Neu hire is a very good one for the Tigers. Neu spent the past four seasons as an assistant for the Golden Bears, where he helped the program navigate through its roughest patch ever facing extinction, rebound, recruit well and get to a point where the Bears, even without him next season, could very well again be a College World Series participant and national title contender.
Neu is an excellent pitching coach who has a strong reputation of pushing all the right buttons, while also recruiting at a high level and striking the right chord with a lot of people.
In addition to his time with the Golden Bears, Neu has a lengthy past beyond that coaching stint. He spent time as a scout in the Braves and Royals organizations, while also serving as a coach at Diablo Valley (Calif.) College. The 37-year-old Napa, Calif., native played college baseball at Miami, where he helped the Hurricanes to a national title in 1999. He also was drafted in the 29th round by the Reds, and eventually became a big-leaguer, playing for both the Athletics and Marlins.
As good as Neu is, he will have his hands full at Pacific. Located in Stockton, Calif, the Tigers are in good shape from a facilities standpoint, but it is one of the more difficult programs in the Golden State to recruit to because of the cost to attend UOP. Neu will have to navigate through those obstacles to help build a winner, something Pacific has seen very little of throughout its history.
The Tigers have not made an NCAA postseason appearance in the history of program, but hope to turn the tide sooner rather than later with Neu now in charge. Pacific finished the 2015 season with a 14-37 overall record, 10-17 mark in the West Coast Conference.
With Neu’s departure, California is now in the market for a new pitching coach. The Golden Bears will have a bevy of interested candidates with the amount of talent they return, but there will be some intriguing names in the mix, including Sacramento State’s Steve Holm, among others.
Today, though, is all about Mike Neu and a new era at Pacific.