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14 Reggie Christiansen
14 Reggie Christiansen
Title: Head Coach
Phone: (916) 278-4036
Email: christra@saclink.csus.edu
Year: 5th
Previous College: Menlo College, '98

Follow coach Christiansen on Twitter @SacStBaseball

Reggie Christiansen, the 2012 and 2014 Western Athletic Conference coach of the year and Major League Baseball's Northern California scouts Div. I Coach of the Year, completed his fifth season as head coach at Sacramento State in 2015. He took over the reigns of the program after spending the 2009 and 2010 seasons as the associate head coach.

Among 24 Division-I baseball teams in California, the Hornets are tied for the 7th most wins over the last four seasons. The team has won 138 total games since 2012, tied with Pepperdine and more than several other perennial postseason qualifiers such as Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Cal, USC, and Fresno State.

Over the last four seasons Christiansen's program has received an All-American Honor (Rhys Hoskins), two all-West Region selections, four Freshman All-American Honors, three WAC Freshmen of the Year, and two WAC Player of the Year honors while Christiansen has twice been named the WAC Coach of the Year. The squad has also won 30 or more games in four straight seasons, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993.

Christiansen's 2015 team had, statistically, the best pitching staff in program history as it ranked third in all of NCAA Div. I with a 1.09 WHIP as well as ranking third with just 2.07 walks allowed per nine innings. The squad also ranked 12th nationally with only 7.70 hits allowed per nine innings and recorded single-season school records for earned run average (2.97 - 18th best in Div. I), opposing batting average (.235), and fewest walks allowed (124).

The 2015 squad surpassed 30 wins for the fourth consecutive season and won three games in the WAC Tournament before falling to champion CSU Bakersfield. Senior pitcher Brennan Leitao became the first player in program history to be a three-time all-WAC first team selection while senior pitcher Ty Nichols, who shattered the single-season program record with a 1.23 ERA, and junior outfielder Nathan Lukes, who broke the program career hits record, also made the first team and senior shortstop Scotty Burcham was on the second team.

Following the 2015 season four Hornets were selcted in the MLB Draft and another signed as a free agent, giving the team its most MLB signees in a year since 1993. Nathan Lukes was drafted in the seventh round by the Cleveland Indians, the sixth-highest drafted player in Div. I program history, while Sutter McLoughlin, Scotty Burcham, and Brennan Leitao were also drafted and Ty Nichols signed as a free agent.

The 2014 Hornets were among the most successful teams in program history, winning 40 games for the first time since 1991 and earning the first postseason and outright regular season WAC Titles in program history. The team advanced to the first Div. I NCAA Regional in program history as well, playing in the San Luis Obispo regional and eliminating No. 18 Arizona State with a 5-4 win. The Hornets went 21-6 in the WAC and, after losing their first game at the WAC Tournament, won four straight contests to earn the league's NCAA bid. Juniors Rhys Hoskins (5th round) and Alex Palsha (27th round) were subsequently selected in the MLB Draft.  

In 2014 the Hornets re-broke the program record with a .240 opposing batting average and set records in ERA (3.27), innings pitched (572.0), putouts (1,716) and assists (698) while ranking fifth in the NCAA with 38 sacrifice flies. The program earned WAC Player (Rhys Hoskins), Freshman (Sam Long), and Coach of the Year honors and had a record seven All-WAC selections, including three on the first team. Collegiate Baseball named Hoskins a third-team Louisville Slugger All-American and Long a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. 

In 2013 Christiansen guided the Hornets to a 34-25 overall record and a 14-13 conference mark, leading the team to its second consecutive winning season and back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in over 20 years. Strong pitching helped the team set single-season records in opponent batting average (.255) and shutouts (9) while freshman Sutter McLoughlin shattered the school record with 17 saves. Sacramento State dropped its first two games in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament but ended its postseason with a 3-0 shutout of San Jose State.

For the second consecutive year Christiansen tutored a Freshman All-American, but in 2013 the Hornets had two rookies, McLoughlin and designated hitter Chris Lewis, earn the honors from both the NCBWA and Louisville Slugger. Lewis was also named the WAC Freshman of the Year and was joined on the All-WAC First Team by McLoughlin and junior pitcher Brennan Leitao. Three Hornets heard the names called in the 2013 MLB Draft, with outfielder Justin Higley (13th round, OAK), pitcher Tanner Mendonca (17th round, MIN), and second baseman Andrew Ayers (30th round, KC), continuing the strong Hornet lineage in professional baseball.

The 2012 season under Christiansen was also one of the most successful seasons in program history. The Hornets won the WAC regular-season championship for the first time since joining the league in 1993 as Sacramento State was one of just two teams (Cornell, Ivy League) in the nation to go from last place in its respective conference in 2011 to first place in 2012.

Christiansen led the Hornets to their first-ever WAC Tournament title game as well in 2012 but lost in 13 innings to Fresno State. En route to its first 30-win season since 2003, Sacramento State used Christiansen's defense-first philosophy to climb to the top of the WAC. The Hornets tallied a school record .979 fielding percentage, which led the conference and ranked No. 5 in the NCAA. The Hornets also shined at the plate, ranking No. 21 in the nation in doubles (122) and No. 30 in team batting average (.298).

The team's success was followed by individual awards as junior second baseman Andrew Ayers was named WAC MVP while outfielder Rhys Hoskins was a unanimous freshman All-American, the first in program history. In all, the Hornets earned three first team all-WAC selections and three more second team choices. Pitcher R.J. Davis was subsequently selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 20th round of the MLB Draft and infielder Derrick Chung was a 31st round selection of Toronto.

In 2011, his first season as the Hornets’ head coach, Christiansen’s squad tallied 19 wins, including six WAC victories. The defensive-minded manager led the Hornets to a .969 fielding percentage - then the second-best mark in program history. Derrick Chung was named second team all-WAC after leading the Hornets with 18 doubles and a .406 on-base percentage while center fielder Kirby Young signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim following the season.

Before coming to Sacramento State to become an assistant for long-time head coach John Smith, Christiansen spent the previous four seasons (2005-08) as the head coach at South Dakota State. He served as the team’s hitting instructor, recruiting coordinator and third base coach.

Christiansen was given the task of guiding the Jackrabbits’ baseball program to Div. I as he took over at the beginning of their reclassification period. Christiansen posted a 96-113 record at South Dakota State, turning a 12-win team in Div. II a year previous to his hire into a team that won the Div. I Independent Tournament in 2007, posting a 34-19 record.

Under Christiansen, the 2007 Jackrabbits reshaped the SDSU record books. The squad set records for runs scored (395), hits (573), doubles (99), total bases (891), runs batted in (357) and at bats (1,824). In addition, the 2007 team fielded .962, just one percentage point off the school mark. Christiansen earned Div. I Independent Coach of the Year honors following that season.

SDSU earned national notoriety under Christiansen for playing Kansas in a three-game series in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. Due to inclement weather at both locales, the teams finally found a safe haven indoors, but due to scheduling conflicts at the Metrodome, the teams played a 1:30 a.m. doubleheader followed by a 3:30 p.m. game the next day.

Christiansen tutored the first South Dakota State player to ever reach the major leagues, as former Jackrabbit Caleb Thielbar made his MLB debut with the Minnesota Twins on May 20, 2013. Thielbar was drafted in the 18th round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers after a standout career at South Dakota State. The left-handed pitcher has shined with the Twins, becoming a mainstay of their bullpen as a late-inning reliever.

Prior to his arrival at South Dakota State, Christiansen was an assistant at Kansas under Ritch Price for two seasons. During his time with the Jayhawks, he served as first base coach and worked as a hitting instructor, while also overseeing the outfielders.

Under his tutelage, Kansas broke several school records and was honored by the Big 12 Conference. In 2004, Jayhawks hitters led the Big 12 with a .316 team batting average, the fourth highest in program history, while setting a school record with 697 hits. Kansas also shattered the school home run record during the Christiansen era.

Christiansen’s first collegiate head coaching job came in 2002 at his alma mater, Menlo College, in Atherton, Calif, where he had previously spent time as an assistant coach from 1997-99. He spent the 2001 season in his hometown as the head coach at Ferndale High School, and also spent time with three summer teams as an assistant coach, working with the San Mateo Bulldogs, the Humboldt Crabs and the Topeka Capitals.

Thirteen different players he coached during his short career have been drafted, including two, Thielbar and former Kansas infielder Travis Metcalf, that have seen action in the major leagues. Jake Rogers was selected in the 22nd round of the 2007 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals, while Craig Parry was selected in the 50th round of the 2008 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Five more Hornets were subsequently drafted in the last two seasons.

Christiansen graduated from Menlo in 1998 with a degree in business administration and received his master’s degree from Kansas in 2004 in health, sport and exercise science.

A native of Ferndale, Calif., Christiansen and his wife Amber have two sons, Ryan and Reese, and a daughter, Ava.

Hornets in the Pros Under Christiansen

Year Name Organization Round
2011 Kirby Young (OF) LA Angels FA
2012 R.J. Davis (P) Tampa Bay 20
  Derrick Chung (C/IF) Toronto 31
2013 Justin Higley (OF) Oakland 13
  Tanner Mendonca (P) Minnesota 17
  Andrew Ayers (2B) Kansas City 30
2014 Rhys Hoskins (1B) Philadelphia 5
  Alex Palsha (P) NY Mets 27
2015 Nathan Lukes (OF) Cleveland 7
  Sutter McLoughlin (P) Philadelphia 22
  Scotty Burcham (SS) Colorado 25
  Brennan Leitao (P) St. Louis 26
  Ty Nichols (P) Tampa Bay FA

 

California Division-I Team Wins Over the Last Four Seasons

 

School

2012

2013

2014 2015

Total

1

UCLA

48

49

25  45

167

2

Cal State Fullerton

36

51

34 39

160

3

Cal Poly

36

40

47  27

150

4

San Diego

40

37

34 33

144

5

San Diego State

26

31

42  41

140

6

UC Irvine

32

33

41  33

139

T7

Sacramento State

31

34

40 33

138

T7

Pepperdine

36

27

43 32

138

9

UC Santa Babrara

28

35

34  40

137

10

Stanford

41

32

35  24

132

11

Bakersfield

25

37

26  37

125

12

Long Beach State

28

29

34  28

119

13

Loyola Marymount

27

24

32  33

116

14

Cal

29

23

26  36

114

15

Fresno State

31

23

28  31

113

16

San Francisco

29

35

25  23

112

17

USC

23

20

29  39

111

18 Cal State Northridge 23 31 18  33

105

19

UC Davis

27

19

23  30

99

20

Santa Clara

26

14

26  26

92

21

Saint Mary's

23

21

16  28

88

22

UC Riverside

22

14

26  15

77

T23

San Jose State

22

17

19  13

71

T23

Pacific

16

15

26  14

71

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