SANTA CLARA, Calif. - First-year Santa Clara University head baseball coach Dan O'Brien grew up in the East Bay but migrated south to UC San Diego when it came time for college. He now takes his Bronco team down south to open West Coast Conference play against the University of San Diego Mar. 24-26.
"I love San Diego and I spent 20 years of my life down there," said O'Brien. "It will be exciting to be back and to see a lot of old friends. The things I miss most are the people, our friends and the memories. The San Diego years will always be special to me because of the people that we shared all of those great memories with. I wish there was more time to visit, but the reality is there's very little free time on the road. I know I'll get to see a lot of people at the yard and Nicole (my wife) and I will take several family trips down in the offseason. I'm just really looking forward to seeing everyone, even if only for a minute."
"In addition, I can't think of a better way to return to San Diego than to be competing against such an outstanding program like USD. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for what they've done with their program," added O'Brien.
As a player, O'Brien led UCSD to a third place finish at the Division III College World Series in his first year and was a two-time team captain. Despite only playing two years for UCSD, he can be found among the school's top-10 for career putout totals.
Following the 1998 season O'Brien was named the head coach at his alma mater. Not only did he take the program to the Division II level successfully, he had great results as the skipper of the Tritons. The winningest coach in the program's history with a record of 454-283-1 (.616), his teams qualified for five NCAA Division II West Regionals and two NCAA National Championship Finals Appearances.
In his first season at Santa Clara, O'Brien has showed his knack for winning by leading the Broncos to a 13-4 mark to open 2012 through the majority of their non-conference schedule. As fate would have it, Santa Clara opens its West Coast Conference schedule at the University of San Diego which is less than 10 miles from UCSD.
"I've been getting a lot of emails and texts from people, including UCSD ballplayers, and it's an amazing feeling to know that so many people are pulling for us and for what we're striving to accomplish here at Santa Clara," added O'Brien. "At the end of the day, as great as it will be to see friends and family, the bottom line is we're going down there as the Santa Clara Broncos to win ballgames."
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