RENO, NV – Former Long Beach State head coach Troy Buckley will join the Nevada baseball staff as announced by head coach T.J. Bruce today. Buckley will assist Bruce and serve as an associate head coach and work with the pitchers for the Wolf Pack.
“We are very excited about Troy joining the program,” said Bruce. “He is a dedicated coach who is not only one of the best pitching coaches in the west, but in the country. He will bring tremendous passion and energy to the program.”
In his collegiate coaching career, Buckley has coached 31 major leaguers, with 99 players getting drafted and five going in the first round. As an assistant and head coach at Long Beach State, he made nine postseason appearances including three trips to NCAA Super Regionals.
“I am extremely excited and thankful to be part of the University of Nevada,” said Buckley. “I would especially like to thank Doug Knuth and T.J. Bruce for their trust and for this opportunity. I am looking forward to serving the student-athletes, the program, the university and the community of Reno with the goals of excellence and a return to the post season. Go Pack!”
Buckley has had an illustrious baseball career, beginning as a standout catcher for three years at Santa Clara University where he was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year and second-team All-American in 1988. That season, he slashed .442 with 82 RBI with both marks setting single-season school records.
The Los Altos, Calif. native was drafted in the ninth round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, and was in the minor leagues from 1990-1995 where he played as high as Triple-AAA before becoming a coach.
Buckley began his coaching career with the Montreal Expos Double-AA affiliate as a hitting instructor and third base coach. Following that season, he became a pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Expos before returning to his alma mater from 1998-2000 to serve as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator with the Broncos.
Following three seasons at Santa Clara, Buckley took on the same role at Long Beach State, where he made a huge impact on the storied program. In 2002, he helped the Dirtbags post a 2.99 ERA which ranked fifth nationally and coached current Nevada volunteer assistant Abe Alvarez to Big West Pitcher of the Year honors.
The following year, Buckley coached another big leaguer in Jared Weaver to two more dominant seasons as LBSU reached the Super Regionals with a 39-21 record. Weaver then led the staff to a 3.11 ERA in 2004 under Buckley’s guidance, which ranked as the fourth-best nationally.
Weaver was selected 12th overall in the 2004 MLB Draft after posting a 15-1 record, 1.62 ERA and 213 strikeouts while being named the National Player of the Year that season. Buckley led the Dirtbags to a Division I best 2.53 ERA the following year after losing his ace.
Along with Weaver and Alvarez, Jason Vargas, Cesar Ramos, Andrew Carpenter, Bryan Shaw, Andrew Liebel, Vance Worley and Andrew Gagnon were all drafted in the first three rounds of the MLB Draft after being coached by Buckley.
After spending two seasons as a pitching coordinator in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system, Buckley returned to the Dirtbags as the team’s associate head coach. The following season, he was named the head coach of the LBSU baseball team.
In three of his seasons at the helm, Buckley led the Dirtbags to NCAA Regional appearances in 2014 and 2016, with a NCAA Super Regional berth in 2017. That year, Buckley led LBSU to a 42-20-1 record and Big West Conference championship with a 20-4 record. He was named the Big West Coach of the Year that same season as his Dirtbags were ranked No. 8 in the nation by Baseball America, as eight players from that team went on to be drafted.
Buckley will join a Nevada staff that has finished in the top-four in the conference all four years under Bruce, including a Mountain West regular-season championship in 2018. Bruce played under Buckley during LBSU’s dominant 2004 season, and served as an assistant coach for the Dirtbags for five seasons, including under Buckley.
Here is what is being said about Buckley’s hiring at Nevada:
Jason Vargas, MLB player with New York Mets, 2015 World Series champion with Kansas City Royals, 2017 American League All-Star:
“Buck changed the way I looked at the game of baseball. I always understood the right way to play because of my father, but Buck’s guidance helped me transform into a professional pitcher. That guidance helped me sustain the career I have had. Buck has been an irreplaceable tool, and for that I’m truly grateful!”
Jeff McNeil, MLB player with New York Mets, 2019 MLB All-Star:
“This is a great hire for T.J. Bruce at Nevada. Coach Buckley gave me the opportunity to go to Long Beach State and become an all-around baseball player. I always enjoyed being the underdog and as a true “Dirtbag” player I know Buck will add to what Nevada has going on. Buck helped teach me how to play the game hard and aggressive allowing me to be present and have the ability to help the team win with every opportunity I was given.”
Carlos Muniz, former MLB Player with New York Mets, current MLB Scout for the Cleveland Indians:
“Troy Buckley is one of the best coaches any collegiate player could have. He was not only an invaluable coach but also a great mentor. He taught me grit, perseverance and to always approach all aspects of the game with respect. That is a lesson I continue to apply every day.”
Jered Weaver, former MLB player with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 1st round pick in 2004 MLB draft, 2004 Golden Spikes winner:
“Buck took my mechanics and ability to make pitches to the next level. If it wasn’t for him I may not have been able to reach my goal of getting to the big leagues.”
Abe Alvarez, former MLB player with Boston Red Sox, 2nd round pick in 2003 MLB draft, part of 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, member of Nevada baseball staff:
“Because of Buck I was able to achieve my goal of pitching in the Major Leagues. Buck pushed my talents to the highest level by working with my mechanics and my understanding of executing pitches. His mentorship gave me the confidence in my abilities to fulfill my childhood dreams, a goal I now keep for myself as a growing coach and mentor.”