Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez announced last week the additions of MLB veteran Shelley Duncan and former Stanford volunteer assistant coach Brock Ungricht as the two assistant coaches to complete the 2014-15 coaching staff.
Duncan, who played for the Wildcats from 1999-2001, finished with a .322 career batting average to accompany a program-leading 55 home runs and 186 RBIs. He recently retired from a Major League career, which spanned seven years with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays.
He will join the staff as an undergraduate assistant coach and work closely with the first basemen, outfielders and hitters, while completing the necessary coursework to receive his college degree.
“I’m really happy with the addition of Shelley,” Lopez said. “I think he’s going to be a really good addition for us offensively. He brings tremendous experience as an accomplished Major Leaguer and he has remained very close to our program since finishing his own outstanding college career.”
Sophomore outfielder Zach Gibbons said he thinks the new additions are the right move for a squad that’s looking to rebound from last season’s disappointing 22-33 record.
“I’m definitely excited to start working with them and am looking forward to getting more insight from Shelley,” Gibbons said. “I’ve talked to [Bobby] Dalbec, Nathan Bannister and [Cody] Moffett and we’re all on the same page, anticipating coming back with good attitudes and mindsets and working hard to get things rolling.”
Ungricht will replace former Wildcats assistant coach Shaun Cole, who earlier this month accepted an offer with USA Baseball to serve as the director of the 18U National Team program, and will primarily work with catchers and hitters.
Cole, a five-year assistant with the Wildcats, was named the 2012 National Pitching Coach of the Year after helping lead Arizona to its fourth National Championship.
Lopez said that he is extremely excited to welcome Ungricht to the program.
“Ungricht fits everything I was looking for in the position,” Lopez said. “He went to San Diego State, is from San Diego and was a high school coach for a short period of time in San Diego, so that all bodes well for us from a recruiting standpoint. One of the things I’ve felt we’ve missed the past couple years is someone with some real strong ties to Southern California, and Brock brings that to the table for sure.”
Over his three-year collegiate career as a corner infielder with SDSU, Ungricht compiled a .318 batting average with 44 doubles and 117 RBIs and left among the all-time program leaders in hits, RBIs and total bases.
After beginning his coaching career at Kearny High School, Ungricht signed on to become a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater and over the past four years has been working with Stanford’s baseball program, helping the Cardinal advance to the Super Regionals in three of his four years with the club.
“They’ll bring a new style of teaching to the program which will be refreshing,” Gibbons said.
— Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17