Mirror Sports Writer
Chad Kreuter, a Pepperdine catcher from 1983 to 1985 and 16-year Major League player, has been named the fourth baseball coach in the last 77 years at USC.
Kreuter, who played for the Dodgers and Angels, replaces his father-in-law, Mike Gillespie, who is 66. Gillespie, who has coached at USC since 1987, announced his retirement last week.
No mention was made of the fact USC had a 25-33 record this season while rival UCLA qualified for the NCAA Tournament, but that development is like the Clippers finishing ahead of the Lakers.
USC has won the College World Series 12 times, 11 when Rod Dedeaux was the coach and once with Gillespie (1998). For the Trojans to lose more games than they won is a major development on the college baseball scene. And for the Bruins to rise from the depths they reached two years ago is equally newsworthy.
“I’m glad it is going to stay in the family,” said Gillespie, whose daughter Kelly is married to the 41-year-old Kreuter.
“Every day I played I was managing games in my head,” said Kreuter.
In 2005 Kreuter was director of baseball operations at USC. This season he’s been the manager of the Colorado Rockies’ Class A team at Modesto.
On the recruiting scene last season, USC showed an early interest in Cody Decker, who had played third base, then shifted to catcher at Santa Monica High. USC then lost interest.
USC wasn’t the only school that wondered what Decker’s position would be on the collegiate level. By contrast, UCLA increased its interest and offered Decker a partial scholarship.
Decker was a designated hitter for UCLA in his freshman season and also started several games at first base. He hit five home runs, including two on consecutive days in wins over USC.
UCLA played in the Malibu Regional of the NCAA Tournament last weekend. UCLA won its first game, 3-2 over UC Irvine, then lost to Pepperdine, 6-0. UCLA then was eliminated in a 2-1 loss to Missouri.