Baseball

    The Head Coaches

    USC has an unprecedented tradition of coaching excellence in baseball, highlighted by Rod Dedeaux, one of the winningest baseball coaches in NCAA history. Only four other men have had the distinction of being a USC head baseball coach since 1924.

    The Pre-Sam Crawford Years (1889-1923)
    USC's first full-time head baseball coach was Harvey Holmes in 1908. He led Troy to a 17-2 mark for the season. Holmes also coached the Trojan footballers from 1904-07.

    The next USC team with an official head coach was the 1911 squad. Curtiss Bernard, a professional player for the Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels, led the Trojans to a 10-3 mark. Another PCL player, Len Burrell, of the Vernon club, took over the following season.

    George Wheeler, who played for the National League's Philadelphia Phillies in the 1890s, coached USC in 1914 and again in 1923. Wheeler did an amazing job in 1914 when he led the School of Law team (the only Trojan baseball team at that time) to an 8-2 record.

    Ralph Glaze, the Trojan head football coach in 1914-15, took command of the baseball program in 1915.

    Charles "Pat" Millikan was head coach in 1916. In 1917, Phil Koerner, a first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels, was named USC's head coach, but he was traded to San Francisco by the Angels midway through the season. So, with Koerner out of Southern California, Millikan reassumed control for the remainder of the season.

    When Trojan baseball got back in gear in 1920 following the end of World War I, Elmer "Gloomy Gus" Henderson became the head coach. Henderson is probably best remembered for being the winningest football coach in USC history, losing only 6 games in 6 seasons (1919-24). He was also successful on the baseball diamond as the 1920 team went 9-4-1. Henderson co-coached the baseball squad with Willis O. Hunter in 1921.

    The Sam Crawford Years (1924-29)
    Crawford led USC for 6 years as Troy began a steady climb toward prominence. He actively sought to enlarge the schedule and improve it through tougher competition. He was a key force in the development of the California Intercollegiate Baseball Association in 1927. He had 3 seasons of double-digit wins and led USC to a second-place finish in the CIBA's initial campaign. Crawford was 59-46-3 in all games, 55-33 against other college teams and 19-19 in CIBA games.

    The Sam Barry Years (1930-41)
    Barry took the baton from Crawford in full stride. His first USC team went 25-5-1 overall, 15-2-1 in college games and 11-2 in the CIBA to take the league title. He ended up with 5 CIBA crowns (including 2 ties). Barry posted 5 seasons of 20-plus wins. His career marks: 219-89-3 against all competition, 133-54-2 versus college opponents and 112-52 in conference games.

    The Barry-Dedeaux Years (1942, 1946-50)
    In a unique situation, Barry and Dedeaux were co-head coaches for 6 very successful seasons. The duo led USC to CIBA championships in 5 of the 6 years, including 1948, a significant milestone year for the Trojan program. Not only did USC get its first 40-win season that year, but it also won its first national championship. The national champion Trojans were 26-4 against college competition, going 2-1 against Yale in the final 3 games of the College World Series. The final marks for the Barry-Dedeaux tandem were 170-70-3 overall (110-28 against college foes and 67-18 in CIBA games).

    The Rod Dedeaux Years (1943-45, 1951-86)
    When Barry joined the Navy in 1942 for World War II, Dedeaux was left as the sole head coach for the next 3 years, and he made good on the opportunity, finishing second in the CIBA every year. Dedeaux's best work was ahead of him, though. Barry returned to his rank of co-head coach in 1946, until he passed away in the fall of 1950. In the next 11 years with Dedeaux at the helm, USC won 11 CIBA championships (including 2 ties) and won 2 national titles (1958 and 1961). After falling to second place in the CIBA in 1962, the Trojans came back with a vengeance in 1963 by taking the league and national titles.

    USC was 17-3 in the CIBA in 1964 and finished fourth in the College World Series. The next season was a rebuilding year, but the Trojans still went 30-15-1. USC returned to Omaha in 1966, finishing third in the CWS.

    The Trojans again "struggled" in 1967, finishing third in the CIBA and going 38-13-2 overall.

    Dedeaux's greatest years were still to come. He won seven NCAA crowns between 1968-78, including 5 in a row from 1970-74. The "worst" year in that span came in 1969 when USC went 13-8 in league play to finish third. The best season, arguably, was 1971: the Trojans won all 17 of their conference games, went 54-13 overall and took the CWS championship (losing only to Southern Illinois, whom they rebounded to beat later in the series). USC was perfect in CWS play in 1968, 1972, 1973 and 1978, going 5-0 each year. Seven 50-plus win seasons were included in the 1968-78 run.

    In the 1980s, Dedeaux piloted USC to second-place Pac-10 Southern Division finishes in 1983 and 1984.

    When Dedeaux stopped coaching after the 1986 season to become USC's Director of Baseball, he left behind a record that may never be surpassed. He had winning seasons in 41 of his 45 years--in one stretch, USC went 37 years without a losing campaign. His 1,332 wins (with only 571 losses and 11 ties) were more than any other Division I coach in history until Texas' Cliff Gustafson eclipsed the mark in 1994. Dedeaux was a part of all 11 Trojan national championships (he had 10 of his own and co-coached with Barry on the other one). He developed many future professionals, including Rich Dauer, Ron Fairly, Dave Kingman, Fred Lynn, Mark McGwire, Tom Seaver, Roy Smalley, Randy Johnson and many others.

    The Mike Gillespie Era (1987-2006)
    After winning 72 percent of his games as head coach of College of the Canyons (a community college in Valencia, Calif.), Gillespie returned to his alma mater, where he had played for Dedeaux from 1960-62. He brought a new style of Trojan baseball, based on sound execution of the fundamentals and an aggressiveness geared to pressuring opponents.

    Before his retirement after the 2006 season, Gillespie restored USC to its past prominence as the Trojans won the 1998 NCAA championship. He has also guided USC to five Pac-10 Southern Division crowns (1991-95-96-2001-02), trips to the NCAA playoffs in 11 of his 13 years (reaching the regional finals nine times and coming within one game of the College World Series in 1988 and 1990) and trips to the College World Series in 1995 (where Troy came out of the losers bracket to reach the finals),1998, 2000 and 2001.

    He was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year four times and was the National Coach of the Year in 1998. He produced 44 All-Americans, 16 Freshmen All-Americans, 67 All-Pac-10 first teamers (including 10 league Players/Pitchers of the Year), 94 draft picks and 25 major leaguers (including 11 All-Stars and a Cy Young Award winner). He was the head coach of the 2000 USA National team.

    The Chad Kreuter Era (2007-present)
    In June of 2006, former major league catcher Chad Kreuter had the honor of taking over the reins for the USC baseball program after his father-in-law, Mike Gillespie, retired. Kreuter pledges to restore the glory when USC dominated the college baseball landscape and thanks to a top-five recruiting class, he and his coaching staff are off to a good start. His two main goals are getting to Omaha and the College World Series and getting his players ready to play in the major leagues.