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USC Confirms Cruz As Head Coach

James Santelli |
May 19, 2011 | 1:33 p.m. PDT

Senior Sports Editor

Cruz said he's ready for the USC spotlight. (Creative Commons)
Cruz said he's ready for the USC spotlight. (Creative Commons)
In a surprise move, USC named interim head baseball coach Frank Cruz the full-time coach.

The 2011 season has been the first under Cruz, with the Trojans sporting a 20-28 record (10-11 in Pac-10 play), already having knocked themselves out of postseason contention.

Some have criticized the hiring of Cruz on a full-time basis based on this season's record. ESPN The Magazine writer and USC alum Jorge Arangue asked on Twitter, "Has Frank Cruz really done enough to keep the USC job full time?"

USC athletic director Pat Haden thinks that he has. "Frank has a vision on how to return USC to national prominence and to do so by winning in the right way," said Haden. "He knows he has his work cut out for him next year because we lose the nucleus of this team, but I have been impressed with his ability as a coach, teacher, leader and recruiter."

The USC players seem to agree. Cruz told Baseball America's Aaron Fitt that the "team gave him a touching standing ovation when (Haden) told them Cruz was hired full-time."

And the player element is important, says Fitt, who wrote that the Trojans have played hard under Cruz, and that continuity at the head coaching position will be a good thing. USC has improved from last season, at least in conference play. The 2010 Trojans finished 28-32, with a 7-20 record in Pac-10 games, under former head coach Chad Kreuter.

Cruz formerly worked two stints as an assistant coach for USC, from 1993-96 and 2009-10. He spent 12 seasons as the head coach for Loyola Marymount University, racking up a 329-356-3 record, highlighted by three straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1998-2000.
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