Former Long Beach State pitching coach Troy Buckley is returning to the Dirtbags after a two-year stint as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league pitching coordinator. Buckley replaces pitching coach Jon Strauss, who left for Pepperdine at the end of July.
"Obviously, we’re thrilled to have Troy back with the program. He’s our best recruit of the year,” LBSU coach Mike Weathers said. “I know this was a difficult decision for him, because he was really enjoying his position with the Pirates. However, I think for his family’s sake and for his future that Long Beach State was the right fit for him."
Buckley was a big part of Long Beach’s success during his seven years with the program prior to leaving in 2007. In those seven seasons, the Dirtbags never had a team ERA higher than 3.75, and their staff ERA ranked among the five lowest in the nation in four of those seasons. Buckley also showed an ability to develop talent on the mound, as he coached six pitchers who were drafted in the first three rounds, including Big West pitchers of the year Abe Alvarez and Jered Weaver.
Weathers said this afternoon that he called Buckley as soon as Strauss left, but it took several weeks for the hire to work its way through the state system approval process. Weathers said that although Buckley was loving his work with the Pirates and believed in it, "the timing was everything."
"The biggest thing was the personal side, being closer to home," said Weathers, who also added that Andy Rojo will remain the recruiting coordinator (a role that Buckley filled in his last stint at LBSU). "That job took him on the road for 20 days out of the month during the baseball season, from spring training on. He has a son and two daughters, and the personal side of this thing really drew him back to the college game, to be home every night and be a dad. He loves developing pitchers, whether in the minor leagues or in college baseball."
And he’s awfully good at developing pitchers. This is a major coup for Long Beach State.
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