Lincoln – Nebraska baseball Head Coach Darin Erstad announced on Tuesday morning that he has hired Mike Kirby as the team’s assistant head coach. Kirby will direct the Husker offense, coach Nebraska’s infielders, oversee base running and will coach third base. With 12 seasons of coaching experience at the Division I level, Kirby comes to Nebraska after spending the last three seasons at Cal State Fullerton under Rick Vanderhook. It was Kirby’s second coaching stint with the Titans.
“I’m excited to have Mike as a member of our coaching staff,” Erstad said. “He has been part of winning programs and fits the type of baseball we want to play at Nebraska. Mike has shown that he is not only a great teacher of the game, but he is also one of the top recruiters in the country.”
“It’s an honor to come coach at a special place like Nebraska,“ Kirby said. “I have a lot of respect for Coach Erstad and what he has done not only during his time at Nebraska, but also for the way he played the game. I knew (Pitching) Coach (Ted) Silva when he played at Cal State Fullerton, so I already feel like a part of the Husker staff. I’m excited to have the opportunity to help build on the success of Nebraska baseball. I can’t wait for the season to get started.”
During his last three seasons at Fullerton, Kirby coached first base, infielders and served as the program’s recruiting coordinator. His first class in 2012 was ranked 23rd in the country by Baseball America, producing National Freshman Pitcher of the Year Thomas Eshelman and Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year Justin Garza. Both Eshelman and Garza pitched for the USA Collegiate Baseball National Team this summer, while Eshelman was named an All-American each of the past two seasons.
Prior to the start of last season, Nebraska’s recruiting class was ranked 11th by Baseball America and Cal State Fullerton was one spot behind at 12th.
Before returning to Fullerton, Kirby was instrumental in helping George Horton put the Oregon Ducks on the national scene. Kirby played a large role in four consecutive top-25 recruiting classes, including three ranked in the top 10 and a program-best No. 5 ranking in 2010.
Kirby was also responsible for coaching first base and working with the team's outfielders.
In his three seasons with the Ducks, the program produced seven All-Pac 10 position players and four major league draft picks
In 2010, the Ducks made a remarkable jump after finishing 14-42 in 2009. They finished the year with a 40-24 mark, having advanced to the postseason for just the third time in school history and the first since 1964. It was the second biggest turn around by a college baseball team since the NCAA began keeping the stat in 1998. The Ducks finished the season on four national polls after reaching the elimination game at the Norwich Regional.
After spending nine years working in sales for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1999-2008), Kirby joined Buddy Goldsmith's UNLV coaching staff for the 2008 season. While in Las Vegas he served as the Rebels' third base coach and helped develop the catchers. While in Las Vegas, Kirby was instrumental in helping Xavier Scruggs win the Mountain West Conference's triple crown with a .379 average, 20 home runs and 65 RBIs.
Kirby saw his first action in Fullerton in 1991 and spent eight of the next nine seasons as either a student assistant (one year), facilities manager (three years) or assistant coach (four years). He left the Titans briefly to assist at Los Angeles City College in 1996.
From 1991 to 1999, Kirby helped the Titans to six Big West Conference titles, four College World Series appearances (1992, 1994, 1995, 1999) and a national championship in 1995. He helped groom nine (Frank Charles, Steve Sisco, Phil Nevin, Dante Powell, Jeremy Giambi, Mark Kotsay, Mike Lamb, Aaron Rowand and Reed Johnson) former Titan position players for the major leagues and tutored four of the five Titan Olympians (Brian Loyd, Kotsay, Jason Moler and Nevin).
Kirby worked on Cal State Fullerton coaching staffs that included current Division I head coaches Augie Garrido, Horton, Dave Serrano and Vanderhook, and also played his last season of college ball under then-Long Beach State Head Coach and former Titan assistant Dave Snow.
Kirby played two seasons of junior college ball at Cerritos College under Horton in 1988 and 1989, when the Falcons won two state championships. He finished up his collegiate career with the 49ers in 1990.
Kirby earned his bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Cal State Fullerton in 1994. He has his wife, Melissa, have two daughter, Payten and Lauren.