FAYETTEVILLE – The complete staff leading USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team this summer, led by Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn, was announced Tuesday.
Joining Coach Van Horn, who is the manager of Team USA, will be Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress, Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez and New Mexico head coach Ray Birmingham. Childress will serve as pitching coach, Rodriguez will coach third base in addition to working with infielders and hitters and Birmingham will coach first base and hitters. The staff also includes certified athletic trainer Mike West from Texas.
"This is a great opportunity for some of the best college baseball players in the country to complete against other countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Cuba and the Netherlands," Coach Van Horn said. "I’m looking forward to an exciting summer. This is a great staff with a wealth of experience from all over the country. We tried to get coaches who will be able to evaluate different areas of the country, which will be beneficial when we select this team. All of the coaches play good non-conference schedules in addition to their conference play, allowing them to see the top players from all over. It is an honor and a privilege to serve as manager for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, and the entire coaching staff is excited to represent our country this summer."
Childress, who served five seasons as pitching coach under Coach Van Horn at Nebraska, is entering his ninth season in charge of the Aggies. Texas A&M has made seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Birmingham is in his seventh season with the Lobos. He has led New Mexico to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and back-to-back Mountain West Conference titles. Rodriguez has been at the helm of his alma mater for 10 seasons and advanced to the NCAA Tournament six times. He batted .268 in 34 games on the 1991 USA Collegiate National Team.
The Collegiate National Team will compete in international friendship series against Cuba in Havana, Cuba, and Chinese Taipei in addition to a domestic exhibition tour and the Honkbal Baseball Week Tournament in Haarlem, Netherlands, where Team USA is the defending bronze medalist. The complete schedule will be announced later this year. USA Baseball will invite players on a rolling basis throughout the 2014 college baseball season.
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