Baseball coaches step down

Louis LaVenture,

Coaches leaving Cal State East Bay is starting to become a trend.

CSUEB men’s baseball Head Coach Bob Ralston and Associate Head Coach Darren Lewis — a former San Francisco Giants center fielder — both stepped down on Aug. 11, according to Director of Athletics Joan McDermott.

The move is a shocking one considering the baseball team is coming off their best season since joining the NCAA Division II level in 2009. The Pioneers finished 33-22 overall and 21-16 in California Collegiate Athletic Association games and had a bunch of firsts.

They captured a share of the CCAA North Division title and almost won the conference tournament, but fell in the championship game to Chico State 10-9. The stellar season led to a NCAA Tournament berth, the first in school history, according to Director of Athletics Communications Steve Connolly.

This is the sixth head coach at CSUEB to leave or step down in the past year, under McDermott, who took over the Director of Athletics role on April 1, 2015. In addition to Ralston and Lewis, the women’s basketball, track, cross country, softball, men’s soccer and swimming coaches have all stepped down or left to pursue other opportunities. Neither Ralston nor Lewis replied to messages from The Pioneer.

McDermott thanked Ralston and Lewis for their dedication to the student-athletes and program but did not comment on the circumstances surrounding their departures.

During his five-year tenure at the helm for East Bay, Ralston was 134-114 overall and 98-108 in CCAA competition. Ralston also won more than 30 games in a season three times including last year, which also produced a CCAA Coach of the Year Award and the West Region Coach of the Year selected by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Ralston graduated from Cal State Hayward in 1988 and also played baseball for the University of Arizona after he graduated from Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward.

He also played two years at Chabot College before he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins and went on to play seven minor league seasons for them and the Oakland Athletics.

Lewis was also at East Bay for the last five seasons with Ralston. Like Ralston, Lewis also played at Moreau, Chabot and in the majors, primarily with the San Francisco Giants.