USC baseball head coach Frank Cruz has been suspended from his coaching duties pending an investigation by the University to determine whether excessive NCAA Countable Athletically-Related Activities occurred within his program.
Young Trojan squad has tough schedule ahead in 2013.
The 18th annual Rod Dedeaux Baseball Golf Classic is set for Dec. 10 at Dove Canyon Country Club
The banquet is set for Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Galen Center's Founders Room.
19-person class is ranked No. 24 in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball.
Having established himself as one of the most respected collegiate coaches in the nation, Frank Cruz is in his second season as the full-time head coach of the storied USC baseball program.
Cruz was named the head coach on May 19, 2011 by athletic director Pat Haden after spending the 2011 season as the interim head coach. He previously served the program as both a volunteer assistant (2008-10) and assistant coach (1993-96), helping lead the Trojans back to the College World Series in 1995.
As an assistant under then-head coach Mike Gillespie the Trojans compiled a 169-86-1 record and made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1995 College World Series season that saw the Trojans reach the championship game and finish 49-21.
After helping USC to its first College World Series appearance in 17 years, Cruz was tapped by Loyola Marymount to run its baseball program in 1997. He inherited a 21-39 squad that had previously finished sixth in the West Coast Conference, but turned LMU into an instant winner, earning three consecutive West Coast Conference championships (the first back-to-back titles in school history), two Coast Division titles and three-straight appearances in the NCAA Regionals from 1998-2000. That run included finishes of 34-23-1 in 1998, 33-28 in 1999 and 40-19 in 2000, which ranks fourth all-time at LMU for victories in a single season.
During his 12 seasons at LMU, he was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2004 and served a four-year term on the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee.
Cruz also has experience on the international circuit, as he was selected by USA Baseball as the head coach of the 2004 national team. The national team won the program's first gold medal at the FISU World University Championships in Taiwan, winning 12 of its final 14 games. As a result, the accolades rolled in for Cruz, including U.S. National Development Coach of the Year and International Baseball Federation International Coach of the Year. The international award is a special honor in a year of Olympic competition, as Cruz was chosen from a pool that included all nations' Olympic coaches. Cruz became just the fourth American coach to receive the honor, and the first since 1995. He is the only Team USA coach to win the award in an Olympic year.
In 20 years of national team competition, USA Baseball has now one five gold medals. In his two stints with the national team, Cruz has played a role in two of those five medals. He is just one of three coaches to be a part of multiple gold-medal winning squads.
Cruz previously served as an assistant coach for the 2000 USA Baseball national team, which compiled a 27-3-1 record and finished with a 21-game unbeaten streak. The Americans defeated Cuba twice to win the 2000 IBAF Tournament in the Netherlands.
Respected as one of the nation's top recruiters, Cruz has a proven ability to identify and develop talent. in 1997 he earned Collegiate Baseball's Recruiter of the Year distinction. His Trojan recruiting classes now have ranked in the nation's top-25 in back-to-back seasons.
In his 20 years as a Division I coach, Cruz has recruited and developed five student-athletes into conference player/pitcher of the year award winners.
He's had 38 players selected in the MLB Draft, including 12 in the top-five rounds. Current major leaguers C.J. Wilson, Skip Schumaker, Ryan Wheeler, Brad Boxberger and Eric Farris have all played for Coach Cruz.
Cruz has also earned a reputation for his fundraising and facility development capabilities. He made LMU one of the most special college facilities in the nation by adding the Mikos Blue Monster (a replica of Fenway Park's Green Monster), Pride Park and the Narcisa & Crescencio Cruz Lions' Cage, an 8,000 square foot training facility named after Cruz's parents by a donor. In just two years at USC, he has overseen a project to replace and significantly upgrade the facility's lighting.
Always ensuring his teams are an active part of the community, Cruz's squads have built homes with Habitat for Humanity, visited veterans, read to school children, volunteered on LA's skid row, and encouraged students from under-resourced neighborhoods to experience baseball through free camps and clinics.
Cruz began his coaching career at Los Angeles' University High School, where he taught health and physical education. While at University, Cruz posted a 152-68 record and led his team to the 1988 L.A. City baseball title, four Western League crowns (1988-90-91-92), and six trips to the city baseball playoffs. Cruz was honored as area Coach of the Year on three occasions. He remained a part-time teacher through the 1995-96 academic year. In February 2012 University High School retired Cruz's number 13.
Cruz attended Santa Monica College and then transferred to Pepperdine, where he earned both a bachelors (physical education, 1983) and masters (education, 1989) degree. He is a graduate of Saint Monica High School, where he was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2012 and currently resides in West Los Angeles.