SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball program has hired Bill Kernen, head coach Reggie Christiansen announced Monday morning. Additionally, assistant coach and pitching coach Jake Angier has been elevated to associate head coach.
Coach Kernen joins the Hornet baseball program and brings over two decades of collegiate coaching experience with him. The long-time head coach and assistant coach will serve as the team's bench coach, coach the catchers, and assist with practice planning.
"Coach Christiansen and I have been friends and competitors for many years but have spoken often about wanting to coach together," said Kernen of his joining the Hornets' staff. "We decided now is that time. I look forward to being a part of his quality staff."
"I am absolutely ecstatic to announce that Coach Kernen is joining our staff this fall," added Christiansen. "Coach Kernen and I have become very close the past three years. I had the opportunity to compete against him when he was at Cal State Bakersfield and his teams were always very difficult to play against."
Kernen most recently served as the head coach at California State University, Bakersfield. Hired as the program's inaugural head coach in 2007, Kernen led the Roadrunners to a Western Athletic Conference regular season championship in 2013 and a WAC Tournament Championship in 2015. He was named the WAC Coach of the Year in both of those seasons.
Between Coach Kernen and Coach Christiansen, the two have won either a WAC regular season championship or a WAC tournament title in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017. Their teams have made a combined three trips to the NCAA Tournament during that span, as well as been named WAC Coach of the Year in four of the past 7 years (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015).
Prior to joining the Roadrunners staff, Kernen was also the head coach at Cal State Northridge from 1989 to 1995. In his second campaign with the Matadors in 1990, Kernen led his team to a conference regular season championship and was named the NCAA Division II West Region Coach of the Year.
Kernen has extensive experience as an assistant coach, the role in which he will join the Hornets. Most notably, Kernen had two stints as an assistant coach with perennial baseball powerhouse Cal State Fullerton from 1978 to 1982 and again in 1987. During his time with Fullerton, the Titans won five conference championships and the 1979 College World Series.
"Everywhere Coach Kernen has been, he has always gotten the most out of his players," said Christiansen. "Coach Kernen has been in a college dugout for close to 1,500 games. His knowledge and experience as a head coach and as an assistant coach will be a welcome addition to our program."
The addition of Kernen to the Hornets baseball coaching staff is not the only change this offseason. Entering his sixth season with Sacramento State, Jake Angier has been elevated from assistant coach and pitching coach to associate head coach. He will continue to serve as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
Under Angier's leadership, Hornets pitchers have set consecutive program strikeout records while leading the WAC in nearly every pitching category, including ERA, hits allowed per nine, shutouts, strikeout-to-walk ratio, WHIP, and walks-per-nine. Last season, the team's seven shutouts (T-8th), 3.26 K:BB (5th), and 2.37 BB/9 (2nd) were among the top 10 in all of NCAA Div. I.
"Jake is one of the brightest young pitching coaches in college baseball," Christiansen noted. "He has earned the opportunity to be given more responsibilities within our program as he prepares himself to be a head coach."
Tim Wheeler will also return to his role for the 2019 season. In addition, Wheeler will assist with the hitters, outfielders, recruiting, analytics, video, strength and conditioning training, and fundraising.
After two seasons with Sacramento State, Dane Fujinaka will join the coaching staff at Illinois State with their new head coach and former Hornets associate head coach Steve Holm. Fujinaka most recently served as the catching coach for the Hornets. "We will miss Dane. In his short time with us, he made an impact within our program. I am excited for Dane and Steve to reunite as they both look to chase their dreams in college baseball."