UNGRICHT LEADS USD BASEBALL FORWARD
We’ve all heard it before. Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life. But in reality, everyone has those days where the workplace challenges and obstacles far outweigh the rewards and opportunities, right?
Not if you’re new USD Baseball Coach Brock Ungricht. No way.
He can barely contain his excitement when talking about his position at the helm of a team he is already very familiar with, having served as USD’s hitting coach under previous manager Rich Hill.
“Can it get any better than this?,” he exclaims. “I get to manage a team with a really talented core group of players, a group of guys I know and care about.”
Ungricht’s infectious energy is driven by his love for the game. To hear him tell it, it’s a love that was evident from a very tender age.
“My dad was a baseball coach, and he had me swinging a whiffle bat when I was still in diapers — at least that’s what my mom tells me,” he says, laughing. “My dad recalls that he would let me hit off a tee in the house after mom had gone to bed. He just had one rule: ‘Don’t break anything!’”
As years passed, those indoor batting sessions transitioned into nine-inning games with the other kids. Ungricht consumed every bit of baseball knowledge he could from his dad, and when he wasn’t playing, he was thinking about how he could get better when he did.
“I always wanted to learn from my mistakes, correct the issues I could, and continue to grow and improve. I had really great coaches who challenged me to get better every day. I still think about those lessons now as a coach, and I really appreciate their support and mentorship.”
Speaking of mentors, Ungricht had one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball — as well as one of San Diego’s favorite sons, Tony Gwynn — oversee
his development as a player at San Diego State University. He learned countless lessons on the diamond from Gwynn, but it was his connection with the players that made a lasting impact.
“When he first spoke to the team, he talked about ‘always being in our corner,’ which is not something unique in coach speak,” Ungricht says. “What made it so impactful from Tony was that he walked the talk; he would watch video with me on my swing and talk about what he saw and what I could work on. He had this innate ability to find a way to connect with each of us on a personal level. He made you feel like you mattered.”
His playing days would end shortly after he graduated from SDSU in 2008, but he wanted to stay connected to the game he loved. Gwynn had told Ungricht he thought he would make a great coach, and provided him the opportunity to join his coaching staff in 2009.
In the 12 years since, Ungricht has distinguished himself as both a coach and scout at the collegiate and professional levels. That impressive resume, along with his familiarity with the USD program, made him USD Athletic Director Bill McGillis’ first choice for a job that had no shortage of top- level candidates.
“Our competitive goals are really high, and I believe Brock can provide the leadership to achieve those goals,” McGillis says. — Mike Sauer