|Organization:||University of California-Irvine|
With over 1,000 Division I career wins and five trips to the NCAA postseason with the Anteaters, Mike Gillespie has kept UC Irvine among the nation's elite. The 2014 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Coach of the Year tacked on a fifth College World Series appearance to an already prominent coaching resume. It was the second post-season trip to Omaha, Nebraska for the Anteaters, who recorded a 41-25 overall mark.
Gillespie boasts a Division I lifetime record of 1070-638-2 and is in the top 30 among active coaches in win percentage. At UCI, he has produced the program's only two Big West Players of the Year with Taylor Sparks, the most recent honoree winning the award in 2013. Ben Orloff, who was UCI's inaugural Big West Player of the Year in 2009, is now an assistant coach on Gillespie's staff.
In his eight-year tenure, an Anteater pitcher claimed Big West Pitcher of the Year honors five times from 2008-2014 and Big West Defensive Players of the Year, Brian Hernandez and D.J, Crumlich won the distinction back-to-back years in 2011 and 2012 under Gillespie's tutelage.
Gillespie was hired in the fall of 2007, becoming the baseball program's eighth head coach. In 2008, the Anteaters kicked off the year with a 16-1 mark for the program's best start. UCI lost just two weekend series in the regular season and went on to advance to the NCAA postseason, defeating Oral Roberts and Nebraska to win the Lincoln Regional. UCI, which recorded a 42-18 record, was ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation.
He led the Anteaters into uncharted territory in 2009. That season UC Irvine was the consensus No. 1 team in the nation and was awarded a No. 6 national seed in the NCAA postseason, a first for UCI. Making their fourth consecutive postseason appearance, the Anteaters served as a regional host for the first time in the program's history. Under Gillespie's leadership, the Anteaters won their first-ever Big West Conference title, winning the championship with a 22-2 mark in league play and posting the Big West's second-highest win percentage at .916. The Anteaters were a perfect 12-0 at home in conference action, becoming the first team in Big West history to accomplish the feat as well as recording the third straight 40-win season, finishing at 45-15. The 45 victories were the most since UCI became a Division I program in 1977-78. At the conclusion of the regular season, a school-record ten Anteaters were honored on the Big West All-Conference teams and Gillespie was voted the conference Coach of the Year, his fifth such honor.
Gillespie's coaching fame includes a 20-year career at USC, where he guided the Trojans to 15 postseason appearances, four College World Series appearances (1995, 1998, 2000 and 2001) and a national title in 1998 for which Gillespie was named National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Gillespie posted a 763-471-2 (.618) record during his tenure at USC, producing 30 major league players, including five who were voted to the All-Star Game in 2003 (Mark Prior, Barry Zito, Aaron Boone, Bret Boone and Geoff Jenkins).
His reign at USC began in 1987 and in just his second season, guided the Trojans to the West Regional, falling just one game shy of the College World Series. USC made four consecutive regional appearances, including winning the conference title in 1991. From 1993, Gillespie led USC to an impressive 10 consecutive postseason appearances that included back-to-back College World Series appearances in 2000 and 2001, marking the first time USC accomplished the feat since 1973 and 1974.
His teams won five Pacific-10 titles, garnered Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors four times (1991, 1995, 1996, 2002) and West Region Coach of the Year accolades twice (1996 and 1998) by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
In 2002, Gillespie directed his talents to the USA Baseball National Team, leading the team to a 27-3-1 record and posting the highest winning percentage (.900) in history until the mark was surpassed by the 2003 team. The national team reeled off a 21-game unbeaten streak at the end of the season and Team USA captured the crown with an 8-5 win against Cuba. For his efforts, Gillespie was nominated by the United States Olympic Committee as the baseball Coach of the Year. It was his second stint with USA Baseball, having served as an assistant coach with the 1997 USA team.
He is only one of two men (Arizona's Jerry Kindall) to both play for and coach an NCAA-championship baseball team. He was the left-fielder for USC's 1961 national-championship squad and coached the 1998 team to the program's 12th title.
Prior to coaching at USC, Gillespie coached at the College of the Canyons, where he built the program from scratch. In his 16 seasons at Canyons, Gillespie compiled a 420-167 (.716) record and won 11 Mountain Valley Conference championships, including six consecutive from 1981-86. He captured three state titles and finished as the California runner-up twice. His teams finished with 20 or more wins in 13 years of his tenure, posting 30-plus wins six times. His final squad won 41 games in 1986, the most-ever by a California community college at that time. His term included three California Community College Co-Coach of the Year awards.
Gillespie served as Canyon's athletic director from 1977-86 and taught English, physical education and health education.