Utah Baseball To Begin 2022 Season With New Coaching Staff

Feb 17, 2022, 5:00 PM
Utah Utes Baseball...
The Utah baseball team prepares to take on BYU in a fall exhibition on Oct. 15, 2021 at Smith’s Ballpark (Axe Tang/Utah Athletics)
(Axe Tang/Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY – A new era will begin this weekend for Utah baseball as they will start their 2022 season on the road against Loyola Marymount.

For the first time since 2005, Utah baseball will begin a season with a new head coach after Bill Kinneberg announced his retirement during the offseason after 17 seasons with the program over two stints.

Now, the Utes will turn to Gary Henderson, who spent the 2021 season as the associate head coach with the program.

Utah Baseball Players To Watch For This Season

The Utes have a good amount of returning veterans from last year but is also bringing the largest group of newcomers onto the roster in program history. With the season about to begin, Utah has some exciting players that are on the radar of MLB clubs. Three pitchers were named by D1Baseball among the top 50 prospects eligible for the 2022 MLB Draft, coming from the Pac-12 Conference.

Those pitchers include right-handers Matthew Sox, Randon Hostert and Blake Whiting. Sox returns after playing for the Utes in 2021. Hostert came back to Utah last year despite being selected by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

Whiting is a newcomer after a great career with Salt Lake Community College.

Outfielder Kai Roberts is another player that is an MLB prospect but for the 2023 Draft. D1Baseball put Roberts as the No. 14 prospect in the Pac-12 in next year’s draft. The Lehi, Utah native started all 50 games last season, playing in the outfield and infield, along with some time as DH.

The Utes also have some exciting freshmen that will look to have an immediate impact. Outfielder Jackson Clemett and right-hander Cam Day received preseason Pac-12 accolades as Impact Freshmen.

Clemett is from Calgary, Alberta and attended Vauxhall High School. Day is a local prospect from Layton High School.

Pitchers Making Move To Starting Role

Two pitchers for Utah will move up from relief to starters this season. Matthew Sox had a 5-2 record with a save in 20 appearances in the bullpen last season. He will be the Friday night starter for the Utes. Randon Hostert was 3-0 out of the bullpen last year and will be the starter on Saturday’s for the Utes.

The Sunday starter for Utah on the mound will be true freshman Cam Day.

About Gary Henderson

Henderson is considered one of the most respected coaches in college baseball. He was the NCBWA 2018 National Coach of the Year as the interim head coach at Mississippi State. Henderson joined Utah after that season. Since 1988, Henderson has been a head coach or assistant with San Diego State (head coach, JV), Cal State Fullerton, Riverside CC, Chapman (assistant and head coach), Pepperdine, Florida, Oregon State, Kentucky (assistant and head coach), USA Collegiate National Team and Mississippi State.

In 1996, Henderson was named the collegiate Baseball National Assistant Coach of the Year, while at Florida. He was the SEC Coach of the Year in 2012 with Kentucky. In 2018, Henderson was named Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year as well as the NCBWA Coach of the Year.

Henderson has a new staff with him this season. The Utes had one full-time assistant coach last season besides Henderson and a volunteer assistant. Henderson will have Todd Guilliams as an assistant coach, with Mike Brown in the same role along with being the recruiting coordinator. Troy Squires is the volunteer assistant. Director of operations Logan Nehls is back in the same role that he had last season.

Gulliams joined the Utah staff after spending four years as an assistant with Kentucky. He started his coaching career in 1988 and has spent time with Eastern Kentucky, Embry-Riddle, Valdosta State and Western Carolina before going to Kentucky.

Brown joined the Utes after serving as the associate head coach at Hawai’i from 2019-21. Starting his coaching career in 2008, Brown spent time with Kentucky, Amsterdam Mohawks (PGCBL), Fulton Railroaders (head coach in OVL), New Mexico State and and Mississippi State.

Utah Baseball Paying Tribute To Two Utah Football Players

The Utes will wear a TJAL decal on the rear of their batting helmets this season in honor of Utah football players Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, who tragically passed away on December 25, 2020 and September 26, 2021, respectively.

Utah’s three-game series with Loyola Marymount will be at 7 p.m. MT on Friday and Saturday, February 18-19 and at 2 p.m. MT on Sunday, February 20.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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