Stanford has reached into its backyard—and past—to replace Mark Marquess.
Sources told BA’s John Manuel that the Cardinal would hire Stanford alum Dave Esquer away from Cal to replace the retired Marquess, who served as a mentor to Esquer. The school made the hiring official Friday morning.
Esquer, 52, began his college career as a walk-on for the Stanford and eventually became the starting shortstop for the Cardinal 1987 national championship squad. He has coached at Cal the past 18 years, leading the Bears to five NCAA regional appearances, most recently in 2015. In 2011, Esquer led the Bears to their first College World Series appearance since 1992. That postseason run was especially timely in light of the university’s decision to cut baseball because of budget concerns before reversing field in April 2011. Debt problems currently cast a significant cloud over Cal’s athletic programs.
“I am just so happy for this opportunity and so humbled to be following Coach Marquess,” Esquer said in a statement. “It is incredible to think back to when I came to campus as a walk-on shortstop from Salinas, and to know I will be running the same program. As a coach, I have my own voice, but I will continue to bring the energy that Coach Marquess brought every day, and maintain the legacy of a program that proved you can achieve the highest standards academically and still sustain excellence on the field.”
Esquer has a record of 525-467-2, including 25-29 this season. Eighty-one of his players has been drafted and signed into pro ball, including five first-rounders, with Brandon Morrow the highest pick at No. 5 overall in 2006.
Esquer was hired on June 10, 1999, replacing longtime Cal head coach Bob Milano. He previously had worked as an assistant to Marquess from 1991-96 before becoming top assistant at Pepperdine from 1996-99.
“Stanford has made a great choice in David,” Marquess said in a statement. “He is a man of integrity, and I think Stanford is very lucky to have him. I know he appreciates the mission of Stanford and its commitment to excellence academically and athletically. He is a great competitor and a real winner. His record speaks for itself. He has had success and longevity in what we feel is the toughest conference in the country, and what he did to save the program at Cal, and then bring them to the World Series, is incredible. I am excited for him and the future of Stanford baseball.”
A shortstop at Stanford from 1984-87, Esquer was a starter on the Cardinal’s 1987 College World Series championship team. He earned all-tournament honors after hitting .350 with six RBIs in Omaha. He was drafted in the 31st round by the Orioles in 1987 and played four years of pro ball with the Orioles, Angels and Brewers, reaching high Class A.
Esquer was Stanford’s choice among a finalist pool that included Michigan’s Erik Bakich and former Stanford player and assistant Ryan Garko, who currently manages Double-A Tulsa in the Dodgers farm system.
Candidates for Cal’s open position are likely to include former Cal assistant Mike Neu, now the head coach at Pacific; San Diego head coach Rich Hill, a NorCal native; and Saint Mary’s Eric Valenzuela, who took the Gaels to regionals in 2016 and a near-miss in 2017.
|2017 COACHING CHANGES|
|Alabama||Greg Goff||Brad Bohannon|
|Cincinnati||Ty Neal||Scott Googins|
|Citadel||Fred Jordan||Tony Skole|
|East Tennessee State||Tony Skole|
|Incarnate Word||Danny Heep|
|La Salle||Mike Lake|
|Massachusetts||Mike Stone||Matt Reynolds|
|North Florida||Smoke Laval||Tim Parenton|
|Santa Clara||Dan O’Brien|
|South Carolina||Chad Holbrook|
|Stanford||Mark Marquess||Dave Esquer|
|Tennessee||Dave Serrano||Tony Vitello|
|Texas-Rio Grande Valley||Manny Mantrana||Derek Matlock|
|Virginia Tech||Patrick Mason||John Szefc|