From Mike Weathers to Steve Smith, Mike Gillespie to Ray Tanner, USA Baseball has a tradition of bringing back former collegiate national team assistants to serve as the head coach in a future summer. In keeping with that practice, Oral Roberts coach Rob Walton was named head coach of Team USA for 2008. Walton served as the pitching coach for the team in 2005.
"I’m really humbled and feel very privileged to be chosen as the field manager," Walton said. "This is an opportunity to represent our country and to coach some of the best players in college baseball."
In four seasons at Oral Roberts, Walton has led the Golden Eagles to regionals every year, and he guided them to their first super-regional in 2006. But aside from dominating the Mid-Continent Conference, he’s also developed a reputation as one of the top pitching minds in college baseball, producing 14 pitchers drafted in his 10 years at ORU (counting his six-year stint as pitching coach under Sunny Golloway).
Once again Team USA will have a quality coaching staff filled with other head coaches who could wind up leading the national team in a few years. Walton will be assisted by Old Dominion coach Jerry Meyers, who will handle the pitchers, San Francisco coach Nino Giarratano, and Kansas coach Ritch Price.
"Rob Walton helped put together a great staff," said Eric Campbell, USA Baseball’s general manager of national teams. "The list of quality college coaches involved in the national team keeps growing, and I am very excited about getting this staff together and beginning the process of naming 32 players from a great pool of college players."
Team USA’s 2008 schedule will be highlighted by trips to the Dutch Honkbal Tournament and the FISU World Collegiate Championship in the Czech Republic.
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