July 11, 2010
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane baseball program and head coach Rick Jones have announced that assistant coach Jack Cressend has accepted a similar position at the University of Houston. The departure of Cressend leaves a vacancy in the pitching coach position, but Jones plans to move current associate head coach Chad Sutter back into the pitching coach role and elevate current volunteer assistant coach Jake Gautreau into the hitting coach role.
"We retain our recruiting coordinator, Chad Sutter, who has been a productive pitching coach and assistant coach, Jake Gautreau, who worked with our hitters last season," said Tulane head coach Rick Jones. "Chad has proven that he can produce as our hitting or pitching coach. The numbers that our pitching staffs put up under Chad are still among the best in school history and I know he is excited to move back into that role. Jake worked with our hitters last season and has the resume, energy and, after working with our hitters under coach Sutter last season, will bring an enthusiasm that is unmatched. His know-how will carry the momentum that we built at the plate last season into next year and, no doubt, make us a better club in the future."
Sutter, who worked with the Tulane hitters for the past two seasons, will take over the pitching coach post, a designation that he carried from 2002-03 and again in 2005-07. During that time, the Olive and Blue own a staff ERA of 4.24 in just over 2800 innings pitched and during those five seasons, no opponent hit higher than .283 against them. Sutter has a wealth of knowledge about the position after catching a trio of All-Americans as a player for Tulane. He is also able to draw on the knowledge of his father, Hall of Fame closer Bruce Sutter, who starred for 13 years in the major leagues in Atlanta, Chicago - where he won the 1979 Cy Young Award - and St. Louis - where he helped the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series.
"I think that all around the staff will be at a comfort level heading into the season this year. There are still some guys on the pitching staff that I coached, with Nick, Robby, Segedin and guys like that, who I think are comfortable with me. Now, with Jake moving into a fulltime role the current group of players have all worked with him for a season and incoming guys got to meet him during the recruiting process. Right now, I think that everyone is just ready to get back on the field and start preparing for the 2011 season."
Sutter's pupils have re-written the Tulane record books, including 2005 All-Americans Brian Bogusevic and Micah Owings, 2003 Freshman All-American J.R. Crowel and the all-time C-USA and Tulane saves leader Daniel Latham. His 2005 staff set a team record for strikeouts (579) and saves (22) and tied the team record for wins in a season. In five seasons in the pitching coach role, the former Green Wave catcher has seen those teams win nearly 70-percent of their games (213-105), while claiming 16 national, conference and state pitcher of the week titles.
All told, Sutter's pitchers have claimed All-America honors twice and earned All C-USA honors on eight occasions. Despite having so many players move on to pro baseball, the Green Wave pitching staffs have been dominant under Sutter's tutelage, consistently ranking among the league leaders in ERA, strikeouts and victories. The team has reached the postseason in four of the five seasons, missing only in 2007 after a 34-26 campaign, and advancing to the College World Series in 2005 as the #1-ranked team in the nation.
Gautreau spent last season as the volunteer assistant coach and worked alongside Sutter with the Green Wave hitters. The 2010 edition of the Olive and Blue posted a .311 batting average and owned a .397 on-base percentage, with four freshman starting 48+ games and four other rookies appearing in over 20 games. The young squad posted 109 doubles, hit 57 home runs and scored 370 runs in 56 contests and Rob Segedin boasted a .434 batting average and was drafted in the 3rd round of the MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.
"I'd first like to thank coach Jones for this unbelievable opportunity," said Gautreau. "This is a very exciting time, Tulane and New Orleans has always been like a second home to me. I was excited to be a volunteer here last season and now I get the chance to be full time and dedicate myself to the program even more. I am really looking forward to continuing the dynamic that we have here at Tulane, between myself, coach Sutter and coach Jones.
"These are guys that have great track records. Coach Jones, of course, has been extremely successful over the past 17 years at Tulane and coach Sutter has an endless knowledge of the game and working next to him can only make me a better coach. Being surrounded by guys like that will be a true asset and I am going to do whatever I can to make sure that this program has continued success and gets back to where we all want it to be."
As a player, Gautreau was selected in the 1st Round of the 2001 MLB Draft with the 14th overall pick by the San Diego Padres and was named the Conference USA Baseball Player of the Decade after a phenomenal career for the Green Wave from 1999-2001. Over those three seasons, the left-handed hitter compiled a .344 batting average, 58 home runs, 233 RBI's and reached base at a .421 clip. He ranks among the school's career leaders in 11 offensive categories and holds the school single season mark for RBI's (96) and is tied for the most games played (69) and games started (69).
Gautreau earned seven All-American honors at third base/designated hitter from a variety of publications while helping Tulane advance to its first ever College World Series in 2001. Gautreau is one of just two players to ever claim the Conference USA Player of the Year Award twice and was a member of the 2000 USA Collegiate National Team, where he earned the "Best Hitter Award" after hitting .348 with four home runs and 20 RBI's. After singing with the Padres in 2001, Gautreau played just 48 games with Single-A Eugene before being called up to Triple-A Portland as a late season call-up.
Jones and the Green Wave staff will begin the search for a volunteer assistant coach to fill the vacancy left by Cressend.