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SEASON RECAP: Houston Baseball
Whitting becomes third Regional Coach of the Year in program history
Seth Romero garners fourth Freshman All-America honor by Perfect Game
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Returning to his alma mater, Todd Whitting rejoined the University of Houston baseball program as its head coach on July 1, 2010.
Whitting became the eighth head coach in program history, bringing a solid resume as a coach and as a recruiter, roles he held for seven seasons at TCU and as an assistant at Houston from 1996 to 2003.
During his career, he has been a part of programs that won 18 conference regular-season and tournament championships, competed in 15 NCAA Regionals, six NCAA Super Regionals and one NCAA College World Series.
He also worked closely with over 70 players that were drafted by Major League organizations. During his coaching career, Whitting has coached or signed five First Round draft picks and 15 Major Leaguers including seven at Houston. Active this season are Michael Bourn, Jesse Crain, Matt Carpenter, and Bryan Holaday.
Whitting's 2014-15 class was ranked by Collegiate Baseball as a Top 40 Recruiting Class in the nation, ranking No. 33.2015 - HOUSTON HEAD COACH - ABCA South Central Regional Coach of the Year
Named the ABCA/Diamond South Central Regional Coach of the Year and for the first time since 2002 and first as head coach, Todd Whitting led the Cougars to a regular-season conference title and to its second consecutive 40-win season. Whitting went on to coach Houston to its 20th NCAA Regional appearance and to an NCAA Regional host for the first time since 2000 and just the third time in program history as Cougar Field represented one of 16 host sites around the country.
Under Whitting's leadership, the Cougars finished 43-18 and 16-8 in American Athletic Conference play. Houston played in what was considered the third toughest league in the country and won the most conference games (16) since 2006 (18). The Cougars also advanced to the American Championship game for the second consecutive season.
Houston went on to win 26 home games -- the most home wins ever won at Cougar Field, while also capturing the Silver Glove Series over Rice for the second consecutive season -- the first time winning back-to-back since the trophy was established in 1998.
Whitting helped the Cougars to eight shutouts, five weekend sweeps and a series win in the final six weekend series heading into postseason play. Houston won 20 of its final 26 games.
The Cougars entered the season with its highest ever preseason ranking at No. 3 by Baseball America and ranked No. 3 for the first two weeks of the season. Houston maintained a Top 30 national ranking every week of the 2015 season.
Whitting and staff saw freshman LHP Seth Romero named a Freshman All-American and American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year as he led the league with a 1.94 ERA. For his on-field success, Romero was invited to join USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team -- the second Cougar in as many summers to represent Team USA.
Seven Cougars earned American Athletic Conference honors under Whitting's leadership -- the most by any team in the league as junior OF Kyle Survance paced the group as a First Team selection. RHP Kyle Dowdy, RHP Andrew Lantrip, LHP Seth Romero, 2B Josh Vidales, 1B Chris Iriart and DH Jacob Campbell made up the Second Team All-Conference list.
Romero was tabbed a Freshman All-American First Team selection by Baseball America and was named a Freshman All-American by NCBWA. The southpaw was also invited to join USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team during the 2015 summer.
Survance was honored with another postseason accolade, being named to the ABCA/Rawlings First Team All-South Central Region Team, while Iriart and Lantrip were named to the All-Region Second Team.
Whitting helped junior Chris Iriart to a 15-homerun season -- which was the most homeruns hit by a Cougar since 2006, while coaching junior Kyle Survance to 31 stolen bases -- to move into third all-time with 82 career stolen bases.
Off the field, Houston Baseball had 24 student-athletes carry a 3.0 GPA. The team notched a program-record 3.09 overall GPA for the 2014-15 academic year, while posting its fourth-highest spring GPA of 2.97. The Cougars had 100% in good academic standing and the student-athletes went on to pass an average of 13.9 hours during the season.
Whitting saw eight Cougars selected in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft as RHP Jake Lemoine and RHP Patrick Weigel were drafted in the 4th and 7th Rounds, respectively. Lemoine became the highest drafted Cougar since 2009 and the duo joined OF Kyle Survance as the three became the first Cougar trio drafted among the Top 10 Rounds since 2003.
Also selected were 1B Chris Iriart (12th), RHP Kyle Dowdy, RHP Taylor Cobb (26th), OF Ashford Fulmer (28th) and C Ian Rice (29th). The eight Cougars drafted are the most since 11 were drafted in 2000.
2014 - HOUSTON HEAD COACH
Not only did Houston earn the automatic berth to the NCAA postseason after claiming the American Baseball Championship tournament title (a first for Houston since 2008) with a win over Louisville, the Cougars were awarded the No. 2 seed in the Baton Rouge Regional where they went on to defeat LSU twice at Alex Box Stadium in back-to-back games to capture the NCAA Regional Championship, earning a spot as one of the last 16 teams remaining in Super Regional play. Houston met Texas in the Austin Super Regional where they were defeated twice, falling two wins shy of Omaha. With a record of 48-18 on the year, the Cougars finished the year ranked No. 11 in the nation and were ranked nationally for 13 straight weeks during the season, polling in as high as No. 5 in the nation the week prior to the NCAA Super Regional.Whitting led the Cougars to the nation's No. 1 non-conference RPI ranking during regular-season action with an impressive 27-5 record. The 27 regular-season, non-conference wins were the most since 27 in 2002 for the program. For his midseason effort, Whitting was tabbed as the Perfect Game Midseason Coach of the Year. With 33 home games played at the newly renovated Cougar Field, the Cougars' continued to add to its record-setting season, posting a home record of 25-8. The Cougars opened 2014 with four straight home weekend sweeps, marking the first time in program history to accomplish that feat. Led by Whitting, Houston's success saw itself earn a season sweep of Rice - first since 1991 to reclaim the Silver Glove trophy, which has been with the Owls since 2000. Whitting and staff saw nine Cougars earn All-American Athletic Conference honors, led by freshman Andrew Lantrip, who was tabbed the league's Rookie of the Year and a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. Sophomore Justin Montemayor and senior Caleb Barker were honored as First Team honorees, while sophomores Kyle Survance, Jake Lemoine, junior Aaron Garza, seniors Casey Grayson, Chase Wellbrock were honored as Second Team honorees, joining freshman Connor Hollis as a Third Team selection. Houston garnered numerous postseason All-Tournament team honors as sophomores Josh Vidales and Kyle Survance led the charge with American Baseball Championship and Baton Rouge Regional Most Outstanding Player recognition, respectively. Aside from on-the-field success, the Cougars continued to showcase strong Academics, achieving the second highest team overall GPA in program history during the spring 2014 under Whitting.
18 student-athletes carried a 3.0 GPA or higher during the spring semester, which also marked the eighth straight semester Houston Baseball has achieved a 3.0 or better. Nine players were named to Dean's List in the Fall of 2013 and seven players in the Spring. Sophomore Justin Montemayor was tabbed a First Team CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, marking the second time in three years a Cougar has received national recognition for their efforts in the classroom.Following Super Regional play, Whitting saw five of his players drafted in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft as senior Casey Grayson (20th/St. Louis), senior Tyler Ford (27th/Detroit), junior Aaron Garza (29th/Milwaukee), sophomore Jared West (32nd/Cleveland) and senior Chase Wellbrock (33rd/Toronto) were taken.
2013 - HOUSTON HEAD COACH
Houston notched a 21-4 record to open 2013 for the best 25-game start since 1989, which allowed the Cougars to jump into the Top 25 national rankings for the first time since 2006 and lasted six weeks among the nation's best. The Cougars earned series wins over Northeastern, Texas State, Texas A&M-CC, Baylor, East Carolina, Memphis, UAB, Tulane, Southern Miss and took two of three at the College Classic with wins over then-No. 30 Texas A&M and Baylor, while earning home wins over Texas and Louisiana-Lafayette and a road win over Sam Houston State.
The Cougars won 22 non-conference games, the most since 26 in 1994 and posted a 23-9 mark at Cougar Field - winning the most home games since 24 in 2008. Along with coaching C-USA Newcomer and Freshman of the Year student-athletes, Whitting coached senior Austin Pruitt, freshman Kyle Survance, Ratcliff and Montemayor to Second Team All-Conference honors, while Survance, Montemayor, Josh Vidales and Jake Lemoine were all named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team. Other yearly accolades included four Cougars (Josh Vidales, Justin Montemayor, Austin Pruitt, Daniel Poncedeleon) being honored as a C-USA Hitter and Pitcher of the Week.
Aside from the on-field accolades, the Cougars once again showed well in the classroom, posting a program-high 3.17 Fall 2012 GPA - which allowed 25 student-athletes to garner C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll honors. Juniors Daniel Poncedeleon and Caleb Barker were named to the C-USA Baseball All-Academic Team, while Barker and Montemayor received Academic Medals.
Following the conclusion of 2013, four Cougars were selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, led by ninth-round selection senior Austin Pruitt (Rd. 9/Tampa Bay Rays). Joining him was junior Daniel Poncedeleon (Rd. 14/Chicago Cubs), senior Matt Hernandez (Rd. 23/Los Angeles Angels), and junior Frankie Ratcliff (Rd. 40/Arizona Diamondbacks).
2012 - HOUSTON HEAD COACH
Houston and Whitting saw seniors Mo Wiley (28th/862/Reds), John Cannon (29th/896/Dodgers), and Jared Ray (34th/1,053/D-Backs) drafted in the Major League First-Year Player Draft in June.
For the second straight year, Whitting's club proved successful in the classroom, posting a team GPA of 3.15, a spring semester record for Houston Baseball. 27 Cougars earned at least a 3.0 GPA. The 3.15 was the highest GPA by any UH men's athletic program, surpassing the 2011 squad's 3.13 in Whitting's first year. Freshman Ryan Vruggink was one of 15 Houston student-athletes to earn a C-USA Academic Medal for posting a 3.75 GPA or higher, while sophomore Jonathan Davis was recognized as a Capital One Academic All-District First Team honoree. 25 Cougars were named to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and six received their diplomas during the May 2012 Commencement ceremonies.2011 - HOUSTON HEAD COACH
In his first season (2011) with the Cougars, Whitting guided the program to an appearance in the Conference USA Tournament Championship. Freshman Landon Appling went on to earn All-Freshman Team honors and senior Caleb Ramsey was named to the All-C-USA Second Team. Ramsey was later drafted in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Washington Nationals.
Not only did Whitting's team excel on the field, but they had success in the classroom. During the fall 2010 semester, 17 student-athletes recorded final grades of a 3.0 of better and four were named to the Dean's List. In addition, the team finished with a 3.10 GPA. The team went on to post a 3.05 GPA during the 2011 spring semester and begin the 2011-12 school year with a then-UH men's athletic program all-time high GPA of 3.13 during the 2011 fall semester.
Whitting has quickly developed a reputation as one of the nation's top recruiters at both TCU and Houston. He was instrumental in bringing three signing classes to TCU that ranked among the nation's top 10 by Baseball America magazine, including the No. 3 class in 2010.
As a Cougar, he assembled Houston's 2000 signing class that was ranked No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball magazine.
Whitting's deep ties to the Houston area played an important part of the Frogs' postseason success. More than 40 percent of TCU's roster (14 of 32 players) came from the Greater Houston area. Whitting also helped lead the program to three straight seasons among the top 11 teams in the final polls. As the recruiting coordinator for the Horned Frogs, he was instrumental in bringing three recruiting classes to TCU that ranked among Baseball America's top 10.
2010 National Freshman of the Year Matt Purke, who was the 14th overall selection in the 2009 MLB Draft and finished the season with a perfect 16-0 mark, was a part of his 2009 signing class. As the hitting and infield coach, Whitting oversaw a potent offense that set school records for team batting average, home runs and runs per game in 2010.
His accomplishments were not just limited to the offense, the Horned Frogs set a school record with a .976 fielding percentage in 2008 and ranked among the nation's top 10 leaders in that category for two straight years.
Behind the No. 13 recruiting class in the nation, the Cougars finished first nationally with a .977 fielding percentage, a record that continues to stand today, and earned a No. 11 ranking in the final polls.
Two years later, the Cougars equaled that victory total with a 48-17 record, defeated Arizona State to win the NCAA Mesa Regional and finished ninth in the final polls. In 2003, the Cougars used a strong surge at the end of the season to assemble one of the most memorable campaigns in school history. After losing the first game at the NCAA College Station Regional, UH won its next five games, including a 7-6 thriller in 10 innings against host Texas A&M during the championship game, to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT TODD WHITTING
"Coach Whitting is a great players' coach who relates well to all his players. He was the main reason that I came to Houston when he recruited me. He is one of the top recruiters in the country and is going to bring outstanding players to UH." 2006 National Player of the Year and current MLB pitcher Brad Lincoln
"Coach Whitting has an outstanding ability to associate with the players on and off the field. This is a great opportunity for him, and it's a great opportunity for the program to have him back. Coach Whitting will do a great job. He is going back to somewhere he is familiar. He did a great job at Houston when he was there and took that to TCU and helped lead them to postseason play year after year." 2002 Johnny Bench Catcher of the Year Finalist and current MLB catcher Chris Snyder
"First, I would like to congratulate Todd. He is a wonderful recruiter, terrific baseball person and a guy who knows the ends and outs of the college game as well as anyone. Having a Cougar return to the University with the coaching pedigree that he has is a tremendous opportunity for Houston baseball to return to the top of the college game." Reid Ryan, President of the Houston Astros Baseball Club
"I associate Todd with the greatest period in Houston baseball history, so obviously it made sense that UH went after him. He did a great job building TCU to what it is today with the constraints that it had being a private school. "By putting Todd at UH where he doesn't have those constraints, where he is working at a public school in an urban area with a lot of recruiting possibilities, I believe that Houston can succeed like a Texas or a Cal State Fullerton."
"Todd's work in recruiting over the years speaks for itself. It's an excellent hire for Houston, and it's the best hire that they could have made." Kendall Rogers, D1Baseball.com