Dan Spencer has been named baseball coach at Linfield College, director of athletics Garry Killgore announced Monday. He replaces Stan Manley who retired at the end of the 2019 season.
"Dan is an excellent fit as Linfield's next head baseball coach. He has an outstanding reputation and track record within the baseball community and epitomizes the Linfield tradition of excellence," said Killgore. "Dan will be a great leader for our baseball team and a wonderful addition to our coaching staff and the community at large. I am very excited to have him on board with us."
Spencer becomes just the sixth Linfield baseball coach in the span of the last 70 seasons. He takes over a program regarded nationally for its lasting stability and winning ways. Since recording its first Northwest Conference baseball championship in 1923, Linfield has won three national championships (two as part of the NAIA and one in the NCAA), along with 41 additional conference titles.
"I'm very excited and honored to be joining the Linfield family," said Spencer. "Growing up in Southwest Washington in 1975, I would always hear about Linfield and its reputation for winning baseball games. The baseball program and the people at Linfield are all fantastic, no matter what angle you look at it from, whether that's academically, athletically or from a facilities point of view."
Spencer is an outside-the-box hire, becoming the first non-Linfield graduate to lead the program since 1949. He has strong ties to the Pacific Northwest and brings with him 28 years of coaching experience, including 22 at the Division I level with stops at Washington State, New Mexico, Oregon State and Texas Tech.
He departs Washington State for Linfield after three seasons in which he served as the Cougars associate head coach, pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
Before Washington State, Spencer was an assistant for three years at New Mexico (2013-15), where he helped the Lobos reach the title game of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. In 2014, his pitching staff recorded the lowest collective ERA (4.23) since 1977 and seventh-lowest staff ERA in the program's 115-year history. The UNM bullpen saved a school-record 16 games.
He spent a total of 11 years as a member of the Oregon State coaching staff, first as an assistant (1997-2003) and then as associate head coach under Pat Casey (2004-07). While in Corvallis, the Beavers won back-to-back national titles and appeared in three straight College World Series (2005-07). His pitching staffs led the Pac-10 in ERA during both 2005 and 2006 and in saves in 2006 and 2007. He also served as the program's recruiting coordinator and brought in three nationally ranked recruiting classes. Collegiate Baseball Magazine named Spencer as its National Pitching Coach of the Year in 2007.
Spencer spent five seasons at Texas Tech, one as associate head coach and four more as head coach. He was the first Red Raiders head coach to win at least 25 games in each of his first four seasons and his teams defeated 32 nationally ranked opponents. His players excelled in the classroom, earning 31 Academic All-Big 12 awards during his four years, nearly as many (34) as the school received in the 12 years preceding his arrival.
During his time at Oregon State, Texas Tech and New Mexico, Spencer coached 12 players to 26 All-America awards. Thirty five players he coached were selected in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft, including 14 in the top five rounds and three first-round picks.
Spencer began his head coaching career at Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., where he was the head coach from 1992-96. In 1992 and 1994, he was named the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Coach of the Year. He also spent one season as an assistant at Tacoma Community College. His first coaching job was leading Vancouver's Ryder Construction 16-18 year-old Senior Babe Ruth team.
As a player, Spencer played three seasons as a catcher and third baseman at Texas Tech after beginning his collegiate career at Mira Costa College in Oceanside, California.
A native of Vancouver, Wash., and Fort Vancouver High School graduate, Spencer completed his bachelor's degree in history from Portland State University in 1990. He and his wife, Susie, have three children: Wade, 24, Logan, 21, and Elizabeth, 14.
246-179 overall record (131-67 junior college)
|Washington State||Associate Head Coach||2016-19|
|New Mexico||Assistant Coach||2013-15|
|Texas Tech||Head Coach||2009-12|
|Texas Tech||Associate Head Coach||2008|
|Oregon State||Associate Head Coach||2004-07|
|Oregon State||Assistant Coach||1997-2003|
|Green River C.C.||Head Coach||1992-96|
|Tacoma C.C.||Assistant Coach||1991|
QUOTING LINFIELD COACH DAN SPENCER
On the kind of team fans can expect to see on the field
"We're going to be known for having very good fundamentals and for playing hard and running around. We'll be athletic, fast and physical and we'll have some toughness. People will recognize us as looking a lot like Linfield teams of the past, teams that won a lot of games by using a blue collar mentality."
On why coming to Linfield makes sense for him
"I really feel like Linfield is the perfect place for me and I'm looking forward to getting started. We're going to come in and see just how many games we can win. There's so much support for the program already. I can't wait to get started."
On what stands out to him about coaching at Linfield
"Coaching at Linfield is going to be so different from the Division I experience where each sport is its own separate entity. As I was going through the application process, it really felt like Linfield was a family with everyone pulling toward a common goal."
On the differences between Division I and Division III
"Division I sports have changed a lot over the last 10 years where now you are going in and recruiting 15- or 16-year-old kids. Picking a college is a big decision someone that age. At Linfield, we'll recruit juniors and seniors rather than freshmen and sophomores. So when a guy shows up to play, you have pretty good idea they are already capable students or they wouldn't be here. That takes a lot of stress off the coach, knowing that a kid you recruit is a very likely going to take care of business in the classroom."