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Mike Kirby, the new baseball coach at New Mexico State University, is apparently the right man for the job, according to many who know him and his work.
Kirby was hired June 24 to succeed Brian Green, who left for Washington State after five years despite signing a new contract in December 2018.
Kirby is the 11th head baseball coach in Aggie history.
“After a nationwide search that yielded several top candidates, I felt that the right coach and the right fit for the Aggie baseball program was Mike [Kirby],” said Athletics Director Mario Moccia. “Mike is an extremely passionate individual who I know will do everything in his power to keep our program successful, take it to new heights and excite our community.”
“It is with great enthusiasm that I embrace this new role as head coach for New Mexico State University,” Kirby said. “I would like to first thank Chancellor Arvizu, President Floros and Director of Athletics Mario Moccia for entrusting me with the Aggie baseball program. I’m excited about the opportunity and ready to embark on this journey and look forward to helping continue and build upon the success that has been paved by Coach Green and his staff.”
The Huntington Beach, California, native played his first two years of collegiate baseball at Cerritos College, where he helped the Falcons to two state championships before wrapping up his career at Long Beach State.
Kirby hired on at Cal State Fullerton in 1991 and spent eight of the next nine seasons as either a student assistant (one year), facilities manager (three years) or assistant coach (four years). During that stretch, CSUF hauled in six conference titles and four College World Series appearances (1992, 1994, 1995, 1999) that culminated with a National Championship in 1995.
Under his tutelage, the Titans saw nine position players reach the Major Leagues.
In 2008, Kirby joined Buddy Goldsmith’s coaching staff at UNLV after a nine-year hiatus working in sales for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1999-2008).
At the University of Oregon, Kirby helped his former head coach, George Horton, lead the Ducks’ return to the national spotlight where he coached first base and worked with the outfielders. During his time in Eugene, Oregon earned four-consecutive nationally- ranked recruiting classes – including three ranked in the top 10 and a program-best top 5 ranking in 2010.
He then returned to Cal State Fullerton, where he served as the recruiting coordinator, first-base coach and worked with the infielders.
Kirby spent the past five seasons at Nebraska, where he served as an assistant head coach, worked with the infielders and was the team’s thirdbase coach. Nebraska made three NCAA Regional appearances
while Kirby was on staff in addition to a Big Ten regularseason title in 2017.
A 1994 graduate of Cal State Fullerton with a degree in kinesiology, Kirby is married (Melissa) and has two daughters, Payten and Lauren. What they said:
Darin Erstad, former Nebraska Head Baseball Coach 2002 World Series Champion (Anaheim Angels)
“Mike is the ultimate baseball guy. With his experience and knowledge of the game, he couldn’t be a better fit at New Mexico State. The thing that I have been impressed over the last five years working with him is that he cares more about the studentathletes as a person than the baseball side of things. His abilities to communicate with the kids; I was just in awe of how he did that and learned so much from him. I couldn’t be happier for him. Terrific hire!”
George Horton, former Cal State Fullerton & Oregon Head Baseball Coach 2004 College World
“It’s great to see Mike [Kirby hired as the head baseball coach at New Mexico State. Mike’s actions will inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more! And they will all do it with class and integrity.”
Kendall Rogers, co-Managing Editor of D1Baseball
“Mike Kirby and New Mexico State are a perfect fit. From his Cal State Fullerton days to going to Nebraska, Kirby is the consummate grinder which fits perfectly with Las Cruces. Mike brings a very strong pedigree and background to New Mexico State and should continue the momentum Brian Green created.”
Mark Kotsay, current Oakland Athletics Quality Controls Coach 16-year MLB veteran (FLA, SD, OAK, ATL, BOS, CHW, MIL) Golden Spikes Award & Rotary Smith Award Winner 1995 College World Series Champion (Most Outstanding Player) 1995 Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year 1995 Big West Player of the Year First-Team All-American
“Very excited for Mike to finally get his chance to transition from long time college coach to now leading his own program as the head coach of the Aggies. Mike was one of the hardest-working coaching assistants at Cal State Fullerton when we shared time together.
He’s had many great mentors and I’m excited for Mike to lead these young men on and off the field. I’m confident he will do a great job for New Mexico State.”
Sean “The Mayor” Casey, current MLB Network Analyst 11-year MLB veteran (CLE, CIN, PIT, DET, BOS) 3 Time MLB All-Star
“He was one of my favorite coaches of all time and I only had him for one summer. Congratulations to New Mexico State on the great hiring. Mike’s upbeat personality and baseball knowledge are second to none.
He was one of the top coaches I’ve ever had. People always ask me where I got the nickname The Mayor and I say it was Mike Kirby who gave it to me in the Cape Cod League in 1994 because he said it always seemed like I was lobbying for votes.
"Good luck Kirb!”
Mike Lamb, 10-year MLB veteran (TEX, HOU, MIN, MIL, FLA) 1995 College World Series Champion (CSUF)
“Coach Kirby was one of my favorite coaches at Cal State Fullerton. He taught me a whole lot about toughness and being a tough out. It was great. I loved playing for him. I respect him tremendously. Honestly, I have goosebumps right now. I’m so jazzed to hear that he’s going to be a head coach. You guys are getting an incredible person. An incredible coach. He develops outstanding relationships with his players. He is absolutely one of my favorite coaches that I’ve ever had.”
Matt Chapman, current Oakland Athletics Third Baseman 3-year MLB veteran (OAK) 2018 Gold Glove Winner 2018 Defensive Player of the Year Winner
“Super excited to hear Kirb got the head coaching job!
Much deserved! He knows so much about the game of baseball and will help so many kids get to the next level just like he did for me and so many others. More importantly, he’s an amazing person and knows how to treat people. He helped me through so many tough times and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for that man. I couldn’t think of a better head coach.”