July 16, 2007
Stanford, Calif. -
Stanford announced the hiring of former Stanford and Major League Baseball pitcher Jeff Austin as an assistant coach today. Austin will take over as the team's pitching coach after Tom Kunis left Stanford following eight seasons in the role when he was named the head coach at Ohlone College last month.
"This is a great opportunity for both Stanford and Jeff Austin," said Stanford head coach Mark Marquess. "It's an easy transition, because he graduated from Stanford. He also has instant credibility with any college pitcher, because he's done it at the college and professional levels. I know our pitchers will enjoy working with him. He has a great personality and a great appreciation for Stanford and college baseball. We're very fortunate; it's a great fit."
"It's very special for me to be coming back to Stanford," said Austin. "Stanford is near and dear to my heart. It is a pleasure and an honor to be associated with Stanford in any way. It's a dream come true to wear the uniform again."
Austin wore the Stanford uniform as a player from 1996-98 during a fantastic three-year collegiate career that was capped when he was named the collegiate National Player of the Year by Baseball America and a First Team All-American in 1998. He was also the Pac-10 Southern Division Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-Pac-10 Southern Division pick and a nominee for both the Golden Spikes and Rotary Smith awards presented annually to the top player in collegiate baseball.
Austin was 12-4 with a 3.11 ERA during his banner 1998 junior campaign, striking out 136 batters (#7T on Stanford's all-time single-season list) in 133.0 innings of work. He appeared as a starter in all 18 of his games and completed eight.
Austin also had solid freshman and sophomore seasons on The Farm in 1996 and 1997.
He began his Stanford career by going 6-4 with a 3.81 ERA and one save in his 1996 rookie collegiate season to earn Freshman All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball. He pitched in 16 contests with 15 starts and recorded one complete game, while striking out 88 batters in 89.2 frames.
Austin was used as both a reliever and starter during his sophomore season in 1997 when he posted a 5-2 record and a 4.14 ERA with four saves. Austin made starts in eight of his 25 appearances and struck out 93 batters in 87.0 innings.
He finished his Stanford career with a 23-10 all-time record, a 3.60 ERA and five saves. Austin's 317 career strikeouts in 309.2 innings pitched still ranks sixth all-time on The Farm.
Austin was the fourth overall selection by the Kansas City Royals in the first round of the 1998 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He was called up to the big leagues by Kansas City for the first time on June 26, 2001, and pitched for portions of the next three seasons in Major League Baseball. He also pitched for the Royals in 2002 before being traded to Cincinnati prior to the 2003 campaign. Austin won his first MLB game for the Reds and posted a 2-3 record with an 8.58 ERA before shoulder surgery ended his 2003 season.
Austin never made it back to the big leagues, finishing his MLB career with a 2-3 record, 6.75 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 65.1 innings over 38 games and seven starts. He pitched in the minors and independent baseball in 2004 and 2005 before retiring on July 4, 2005.
"I don't expect there to be a lot of change in the way things are done," commented Austin about his new job. "There will be a lot of reinforcement of the way Stanford has done things so successfully over the years."
Austin has a Bachelors degree in English from Stanford.