Utah Baseball to start 2022 season with new coaching staff

SALT LAKE CITY – A new era will begin this weekend for Utah baseball as they begin their 2022 season on the road against Loyola Marymount.

For the first time since 2005, Utah Baseball will begin a season with a new head coach after Bill Kinneberg announced his retirement in the offseason after 17 seasons with the two-stint program.

Now, the Utes will look to Gary Henderson, who spent the 2021 season as the program’s associate head coach.

Utah baseball players to watch this season

The Utes have a fair amount of returning veterans from last year, but also bring the largest group of newcomers to the roster in program history. As the season is about to begin, Utah has some exciting players who are on the radar of MLB clubs. Three pitchers have been named by D1Baseball to the top 50 eligible prospects for the 2022 MLB Draft from the Pac-12 conference.

Those pitchers include right-handers Matthew Sox, Randon Hostert and Blake Whiting. Sox returns after playing for the Utes in 2021. Hostert returned to Utah last year despite being selected by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

Whiting is a relative newcomer after a successful career at Salt Lake Community College.

Outfielder Kai Roberts is another player who is an MLB prospect but up for the 2023 draft. D1Baseball placed Roberts 14th among Pac-12 prospects in next year’s draft. The Lehi, Utah native started all 50 games last season, playing in the outfield and infield, as well as some time as a DH.

The Utes also have some exciting freshmen who will be looking to make an immediate impact. Outfielder Jackson Clemett and right-hander Cam Day received Pac-12 preseason accolades as Impact Freshmen.

Clemett is from Calgary, Alberta and attended Vauxhall High School. Day is a local prospect from Layton High School.

Pitchers move to starting role

Two Utah pitchers will move from relief to starters this season. Matthew Sox was 5-2 with one save in 20 appearances in the bullpen last season. He will be the Friday night starter for the Utes. Randon Hostert was 3-0 out of the bullpen last year and will start Saturday for the Utes.

Sunday’s starter for Utah on the mound will be true freshman Cam Day.

About Gary Henderson

Henderson is considered one of college baseball’s most respected coaches. He was the 2018 NCBWA National Coach of the Year as Mississippi State’s interim head coach. Henderson joined Utah after that season. Since 1988, Henderson has been a head or assistant coach with San Diego State (head coach, JV), Cal State Fullerton, Riverside CC, Chapman (assistant and head coach), Pepperdine, Florida, Oregon State, Kentucky (assistant and head coach), the United States Collegiate National Team and Mississippi State.

In 1996, Henderson was named national college baseball assistant coach of the year while at Florida. He was the 2012 SEC Coach of the Year with Kentucky. In 2018, Henderson was named Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year as well as NCBWA Coach of the Year.

Henderson has new staff with him this season. The Utes had a full-time assistant coach last season in addition to Henderson and a volunteer assistant. Henderson will have Todd Guilliams as assistant coach, with Mike Brown in the same role in addition to being the scouting coordinator. Troy Squires is the volunteer assistant. Operations manager Logan Nehls is back in the same role he held last season.

Gulliams joined the Utah team after spending four years as an assistant at Kentucky. He began his coaching career in 1988 and spent time with Eastern Kentucky, Embry-Riddle, Valdosta State and Western Carolina before moving to Kentucky.

Brown joined the Utes after serving as an associate head coach at Hawai’i from 2019-21. Beginning his coaching career in 2008, Brown spent time with the Kentucky, Amsterdam Mohawks (PGCBL), Fulton Railroaders (OVL Head Coach), New Mexico State and Mississippi State.

Utah Baseball honors two Utah football players

The Utes will wear a TJAL decal on the back of their batting helmets this season honoring Utah football players Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, who tragically passed away on December 25, 2020 and September 26, 2021, respectively.

Utah’s three-game series with Loyola Marymount will take place at 7 p.m. MT on Friday and Saturday, February 18-19 and 2 p.m. MT on Sunday, February 20.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, co-host of the Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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