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14 - Reggie Christiansen
Reggie Christiansen
Title: Head Coach
Phone: (916) 278-4036
Email: christra@saclink.csus.edu
Year: 4th
College: Menlo College, '98

Follow coach Christiansen on Twitter @SacStBaseball

Reggie Christiansen, the 2012 Western Athletic Conference coach of the year and Major League Baseball's Northern California scouts Div. I Coach of the Year, enters his fourth season as head coach at Sacramento State. 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 team in California, the Hornets have recorded the sixth-most wins over the last two seasons. The team won 65 total games in 2012 and 2013, more than several perennial postseason qualifiers such as Long Beach State, Fresno State, UC Irvine, and Cal.  

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 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 Team 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

 

California Division-I Team Wins Over the Last Two Seasons

 

School

2012

2013

Total

1

UCLA

48

39

87

2

Cal State Fullerton

36

48

84

3

Cal Poly

36

39

75

4

San Diego

40

35

75

5

Stanford

41

32

73

6

Sacramento State

31

34

65

7

UC Irvine

31

33

64

8

Pepperdine

36

27

63

9

UC Santa Barbara

28

34

62

10

San Francisco

29

33

62

11

CSU Bakersfield

25

37

62

12

Long Beach State

28

29

57

13

San Diego State

26

31

57

14

Fresno State

31

23

54

15

Cal State Northridge

23

31

54

16

Cal

29

23

52

17

Loyola Marymount

27

24

51

18 UC Davis 27 19

46

19

St. Mary's

24

21

45

20

UC Riverside

22

22

44

21

USC

23

20

43

22

San Jose State

22

17

39

23

Santa Clara

25

14

39

24

Pacific

16

15

31

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