USC hires Grand Canyon's Andy Stankiewicz to rebuild Trojans' baseball program

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PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 5: Andy Stankiewicz Grand Canyon Head Coach comes into talk to his team during a baseball game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Grand Canyon Lopes on April 5, 2022, at GCU Ballpark, AZ. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Grand Canyon coach Andy Stankiewicz huddles with his players during a game in April. He has been hired to be USC's baseball coach. (Zachary BonDurant / Icon Sportswire / AP)

USC hired Andy Stankiewicz to be its new baseball coach, turning to a well-respected veteran to rebuild a fractured program that has the most national titles at the Division I level but hasn't reached the postseason since 2015.

Stankiewicz, an Inglewood native, former Major League Baseball infielder and four-time Western Athletic Conference coach of the year, is leaving Grand Canyon University in Arizona to lead the Trojans.

"Andy has a proven record of success in building a winning program," USC athletic director Mike Bohn said in a news release introducing Stankiewicz on Sunday. "Playing seven seasons in the MLB, he understands what it takes to compete at the highest level. Andy's leadership, relationship-building abilities and player development make him a terrific fit to lead our program.

"Furthermore, his integrity and commitment to student-athletes align perfectly with our vision and guiding principles. He arrives at USC strongly recommended and respected by members of the baseball community, and we have the utmost confidence that he will elevate our baseball program back to national prominence."

Stankiewicz supervised Grand Canyon's transition from the Division II level to Division I, winning five regular-season WAC titles across both levels. He led Grand Canyon to its first Division I NCAA regional bid in 2021 after winning the WAC tournament. His team won 41 games in 2022, earning the first Division I NCAA regional at-large bid in school history.

"I am thrilled to be the next head coach of the most prestigious baseball program in the country," said Stankiewicz, a Pepperdine alum who played six minor league and seven MLB seasons before working as an MLB scout and minor league manager. "Our program will be one that represents the Trojan Family well and makes our alumni proud."

USC fired coach Jason Gill on June 6 after three turbulent seasons. The team finished last in the Pac-12 Conference, and Gill closed with a 60-59 record. His tenure was marred not only by two losing seasons, but also two university investigations first reported by The Times — one into his conduct and another into possible NCAA rules violations. USC’s compliance investigation found only one secondary violation.

Sources told The Times multiple players were poised to leave the program if a coaching change wasn't made.

Bohn attributed some of Gill's struggles to pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic and vowed to find a coach capable of helping the Trojans compete for national championships.

High-profile candidates were linked to the job, including former MLB shortstop and University of Texas volunteer assistant coach Troy Tulowitzki, but all reportedly passed on the opportunity. The challenges rebuilding the roster and adapting to disruptions caused by construction ahead of the 2028 Olympics complicated the search.

USC has won 12 NCAA titles, but Stankiewicz is its fifth coach in 16 years. USC made only one NCAA regional (2015) appearance during that stretch while cycling through coaches who combined to produce two winning seasons.

Stankiewicz, 57, has a 341-239-2 career coaching record and will help the Trojans retool their roster for their final run in the Pac-12 before joining the Big Ten during the 2024-25 academic year.

He is returning to the area where he started his baseball career at St. Paul High in Santa Fe Springs. He also played football there.

Stankiewicz was a star at Pepperdine, where he still ranks in the school's top 10 in runs scored (172), at-bats (755), walks (121), stolen bases (101) and stolen base percentage (.828). During his four-year career with the Waves, the team made two NCAA regional appearances and won a West Coast Conference title.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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