Rocklin, Calif. – Jake McKinley, who spent the last four years as a head baseball coach at Menlo College, has been named the William Jessup baseball head coach.
The announcement was made Monday by William Jessup Athletics Director Lance Von Vogt.
“We believe William Jessup is a sleeping giant for NAIA collegiate baseball; one that is capable of winning conference and national titles,” Von Vogt said. ” “Jake not only shares our vision, but also has the ability to develop our baseball program into a nationally ranked championship-caliber program.”
McKinley takes over the program after having an impressive 131-92 overall record at Menlo College, where he developed success both on and off the field. Student-athletes that have gone through the program during McKinley’s tenure have received honors in multiple categories, most recently 2017 GSAC Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year. Other accolades include 12 All-Conference honorees, two NAIA All-Americans, six Scholar-Athletes, and two Capital One Academic All-District selections.
“I had a great situation at Menlo and wouldn’t have left unless I felt like I was going to a program that could compete for a national championship. I feel this is a realistic goal at William Jessup,” McKinley stated. “From a facilities standpoint, recruiting advantages, and elite administration, I think this is one of the best jobs in small college baseball. In addition, being close to home is a huge perk of the job.”
“I want to thank Dr. John Jackson, Lance Von Vogt, and Brandon Bowling for entrusting me with this program and allowing me to usher it into a new era. WJU baseball offers so many unique opportunities, and I can’t wait to get started.”
In his four short years at Menlo, three of his players were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft and McKinley was recognized as MLB Scouts Northern California College Coach of the Year.
Prior to Menlo College, McKinley spent four years as an assistant coach at NCAA Division I Sacramento State, where he helped the Hornets to a 67-55 record in his final two seasons.
At Sacramento State, the Placerville native first landed a position as the Director of Baseball Operations in 2010-11. He was named volunteer assistant coach the following year and was promoted to Recruiting Coordinator in 2012-13 for the Hornets.
McKinley started his coaching career after graduation from Bethany University (Santa Cruz) as an assistant for the Bruins.
One year later, McKinley left his alma mater and headed to Campbellsville University (Campbellsville, KY) to take on an assistant coaching position from 2007-2009. At Campbellsville he played a major role in leading the team to a 39-12 record and a trip to the 2009 NAIA World Series.
The California native returned home in 2009 for two years at West Valley College, where he was served as pitching coach.
“McKinley has developed a vast network of scouts across the nation that will certainly aid in his ability to recruit top student athletes to William Jessup,” Von Vogt said.
McKinley graduated from NAIA Bethany College in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications and went on to earn a Master’s of Arts in Social Science from Campbellsville University in 2008.
As a Bethany player, he was a standout pitcher and first baseman. McKinley broke multiple records, including most strikeouts in a career, most strikeouts in a single season, lowest single season ERA, and most innings pitched in both a season and career. He was named conference Pitcher of the Year and Most Valuable Player.
At William Jessup, McKinley will be a full-time staff member and focus on building the program from the foundation that was established by Hankins, the first WJU baseball coach.
With a new baseball complex at McBean Park in Lincoln this past season, Warrior baseball has been taken to the next level of competition, providing an enhanced student-athlete experience.
“In building off the foundation that Coach Hankins laid it was time to move this position to a full-time status where our baseball student athletes received full-time attention and could capitalize on McBean Park and our indoor hitting facility,” Von Vogt said. “We needed to hit a home run with this hire, but standing here today we believe we did even better than that – we hit a grand slam.”
“Once you spend any amount of time with Jake you know that he has a depth to his character and a conviction in his heart. That being said, on and off the field Jake embodies the character, Christ based coaching that our University has become consistently recognized for,” added Von Vogt. “It will be so exciting to witness the spiritual growth of our young men in addition to the athletic growth.”
We invite Warrior fans and supporters to join us as we usher in a new era of Jessup baseball.
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