Cougars and Longhorns meet for second time this season at 6 pm
Houston back in action Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Texas
Cougars and Owls wrap up series at 1 p.m. Sunday at Cougar Field
Cougars improve to 27-11 and 7-3 in C-USA play; Game 2 Set for 12:30 pm Saturday
Cougars and Owls to meet in pivotal C-USA series at Cougar Field
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 16 conference regular-season and tournament championships, competed in 13 NCAA Regionals, five NCAA Super Regionals and one NCAA College World Series.
He also worked closely with over 60 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, Brad Lincoln, Garrett Mock, Jesse Crain, Chris Snyder, Rob Johnson, Matt Carpenter, and Bryan Holaday.
In 2012, Whitting coached the Cougars to a spot at the C-USA Championship, winning their final game of the season. The team opened the year with a sweep over Delaware and went on to post wins over then-No. 4 Arkansas, who went on to play in the College World Series. The Cougars also tallied wins over Tennessee, then-No. 6 Rice, Sam Houston State, and took two from Oklahoma State on the road. Freshman Michael Pyeatt earned All-Freshman Team honors, while sophomore Landon Appling was named to the C-USA Championship All-Tournament Team. Senior Jared Ray was recognized for his academic excellence, being named to the C-USA All-Academic Team.
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.
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.
"With an award-winning background and strong recruiting ties in Houston, the state and across the country, Whitting was the best choice to lead the Cougars into the future," Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said.
"When speaking with numerous baseball people across the great state of Texas, everyone spoke very highly about Coach Whitting, the person and baseball coach," Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said. "He is committed to the development of student-athletes both on and off the field and will work tirelessly to elevate Houston baseball to the next level in all areas."
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, CEO and President of Ryan-Sanders Baseball, Inc
"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, Rivals.com