Dan Spencer enters his third year with the Lobos after spending the previous four seasons as the head coach of Texas Tech, compiling a 115-112 record. Before joining Texas Tech for the 2008 season, Spencer spent 11 seasons at Oregon State as the Beavers hitting coach (1997-2003) and pitching coach (2004-2007). He helped lead Oregon State to back-to-back College World Series titles in 2006 and 2007.
"This is huge for the continued success of our program as we try to get to Omaha," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said when Spencer was hired. "Dan is a quality guy and one of the best pitching coaches in the nation."
In 2014 Lobo pitchers recorded their lowest collective ERA (4.23) since 1977. It was also the seventh lowest staff ERA in the program's 115-year history. The bullpen also saved 16 games, breaking the school record of 14 set in 2013. Colton Thomson (6-6, 3.68 ERA), Josh Walker (7-5, 3.87) and Drew Bridges (4-1, 3.66) all thrived as weekend starters for Spencer and the Lobos.
The bullpen was lights out as UNM went a perfect 31-0 when leading after six innings and 33-0 when leading after eight. It was led by a pair of sophomores in closer Victor Sanchez (4-1, 2.33, 10 SV) and setup man Taylor Duree (2-0, 3.55) who appeared in a team-high 29 games. Talented lefty Carson Schneider set a new program record for appearances by a freshman as he went 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in 24 games. Junior transfer Jake Cole also thrived by posting a 3-1 mark with a 3.67 ERA and a bullpen-high 38 strikeouts in 41.2 innings.
The Lobo pitching staff excelled in its first year under Spencer's tutelage in 2013. Gabe Aguilar and Sam Wolff enjoyed career years, and Josh Walker had one of the most successful seasons in Lobo history. Freshman Drew Bridges, who came to UNM as a shortstop, converted to the mound and had a wildly successful season, including combining with Walker to shut out then-No. 10 Arkansas on the road.
Spencer helped Wolff lower his ERA by a full two and a half runs, while also decreasing his walk rate and increasing his strikeout rate. After the season Wolff was selected by the Texas Rangers in the sixth round of the MLB Draft.
Collegiate Baseball Magazine named Spencer the National Pitching Coach of the Year in 2007 after guiding Oregon State to a 3.48 ERA, and in 2012 he helped Texas Tech record its lowest ERA in 18 years. He will look to continue that success with the Lobo pitching staff that last season recorded its lowest ERA since 1977. After spending one year in charge of the pitchers, catchers, and recruiting at Texas Tech, Spencer took over the head coaching duties for the 2009 season. He went on to set several Red Raider records during his first four years as head coach. He was the first to win at least 25 games during his first four seasons, and his teams defeated 32 nationally ranked opponents and 113 Division I opponents, both of which are the most all-time in a coach's first four seasons at Texas Tech. His players excelled in the classroom as well as the Red Raiders produced 31 Academic All-Big 12 players in his four years, almost as many as the school had (34) in the 12 years before he got there. He also spearheaded the efforts to raise $5 million to renovate the university's baseball stadium, which was completed in February 2012.
In addition to winning back-to-back national titles while at Oregon State, he was part of the staff that led the Beavers to three straight College World Series appearances (2005-2007) and back-to-back Pac-10 titles in 2005-2006. He helped Oregon State to the most wins in program history in both back-to-back seasons (99) and back-to-back-to-back seasons (145). His pitching staffs led the Pac-10 in ERA in both 2005 and 2006 and in saves in 2006 and 2007. He also served as the program's recruiting coordinator and brought in three nationally ranked recruiting classes.
In his career at Texas Tech and Oregon State, Spencer coached 11 players to 25 All-American awards, and he had 31 players selected in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft, including 14 in the top five rounds and three first round picks. He began his head coaching career at Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., where he was the head coach from 1992-1996. In 1992 and 1994 he was named the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Coach of the Year. A native of Vancouver, Wash., Spencer received his bachelor's degree in history from Portland State University in 1990. He and his wife, Susie, have three children: Wade, Logan, and Elizabeth.