Kirby named next New Mexico State head baseball coach
New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia has named Mike Kirby the 11th head baseball coach in Aggie history Monday morning.
"After a nationwide search that yielded several top candidates, I felt that the right coach and the right fit for the Aggie baseball program was Mike [Kirby]," said Moccia. "Mike is an extremely passionate individual who I know will do everything in his power to keep our program successful, take it to new heights and excite our community."
A formal introductory press conference is schedule to take place on Thursday, June 27, at 2:30 p.m. (MT) on the third floor of the Stan Fulton Athletic Center in the Danny Villanueva Victory Club. The press conference is open to the public and will be followed by a meet and greet from 4-6 p.m. in the same room. A live-stream of the introductory press conference can be found here. Any one-on-one interviews with Moccia or Kirby after the introductory press conference can be coordinated by contacting John Vu (firstname.lastname@example.org) via phone 714-728-9163.
Kirby comes to the City of Crosses with a championship pedigree, having one won seven conference titles – including the 1995 College World Series Championship at his alma mater Cal State Fullerton. He's also seen 104 players selected in the MLB Draft during his coaching career – including 27 that have played in the Major Leagues.
"It is with great enthusiasm that I embrace this new role as head coach for New Mexico State University," Kirby said. "I would like to first thank Chancellor Arvizu, President Floros and Director of Athletics Mario Moccia for entrusting me with the Aggie baseball program. I'm excited about the opportunity and ready to embark on this journey and look forward to helping continue and build upon the success that has been paved by Coach Green and his staff."
The Huntington Beach, Calif., native spent the last five seasons at Nebraska (2014-19) where he served as an assistant head coach. While in Lincoln, Kirby worked with the infielders and served as the team's third-base case. In those five seasons, he helped see 13 players selected in the MLB Draft.
Nebraska made three NCAA Regional appearances while Kirby was on staff in addition to a Big Ten regular-season title in 2017. The Huskers also had five All-Americans during that stretch, three of which were infielders – including a second-round draft pick in Ryan Boldt.
Prior to joining Darin Erstad's staff, who was a vital player in the then Anaheim Angels winning the 2002 World Series, Kirby was on his second stint at Cal State Fullerton as part of Rick Vanderhook's staff from 2012-14 where he served as the recruiting coordinator, first-base coach and worked with the infielders. His first season back with the Titans (2012) saw the recruiting class ranked 23rd in the country by Baseball America – producing National Freshman Pitcher of the Year Thomas Eshelman and Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year Justin Garza. Both pitched for the USA Collegiate Baseball National Team during the summer of 2014. Eshelman was named an All-American each of his last three seasons and was a second-round pick by Houston in 2015.
Before returning to CSUF for his second stint, Kirby helped his former head coach, George Horton, lead the Oregon Ducks' return to the national spotlight where he coached first-base and worked with the outfielders. During his time in Eugene, he played an integral role in Oregon earning four-consecutive nationally-ranked recruiting classes – including three ranked in the top-10 and a program-best top-5 ranking in 2010.
Kirby made his return to the coaching ranks in 2008, joining Buddy Goldsmith's coaching staff at UNLV after a nine-year hiatus working in sales for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1999-2008). While with the Rebels, Kirby played a critical role in Xavier Scruggs winning the Mountain West Conference triple crown with a .379 average, 20 homers and 65 RBI.
Kirby saw his first action at Cal State Fullerton in 1991 and spent eight of the next nine seasons as either a student assistant (one year), facilities manager (three years) or assistant coach (four years). He left the Titans briefly to assist at Los Angeles City College in 1996. During that stretch, CSUF hauled in six conference titles four College World Series appearances (1992, 1994, 1995, 1999) that culminated with a National Championship in 1995. Under his tutelage, the Titans saw nine position players reach the Major Leagues (Frank Charles, Steve Sisco, Phil Nevin, Dante Powell, Jeremy Giambi, Mark Kotsay, Mike Lamb, Aaron Rowand and Reed Johnson) while coaching four of the five Titan Olympians (Brian Loyd, Kotsay, Jason Moler, Nevin).
Kirby played his first two years of collegiate baseball at Cerritos College under Horton from 1988-89 where he helped guide the Falcons to two state championships before wrapping up his career at Long Beach State under then-head coach Dave Snow, who was also a former CSUF assistant.
A 1994 graduate of Cal State Fullerton with a degree in kinesiology, Kirby is married to his wife Melissa and have two daughters, Payten and Lauren.