Fresno State’s Underdogs to Wonderdogs 10-year anniversary
Fresno State has been working on a contract extension for baseball coach Mike Batesole for more than a year and through two athletics administrations.
It finally is done, and it includes some wrinkles.
Batesole has signed a two-year extension through 2021 with an option for a third year that is at the discretion of the university and the athletics department and includes two automatic triggers that will add a little intrigue to the last month of the Bulldogs’ season.
The option can be attained if …
The Bulldogs win the Mountain West regular-season championship.
Or, the Bulldogs advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Fresno State (15-7-1, .674) on Friday opens a weekend series against San Diego State at Beiden Field in first place in the conference, just ahead of the Aztecs (14-9, .609).
The Bulldogs close out the regular season next weekend with a three-game series at UNLV (12-12, .500), which is tied with San Jose State for third place.
If the Bulldogs do not win the regular-season title or advance to the NCAA Tournament, Batesole’s contract option will be determined by multiple performance factors including overall team performance, program stewardship and community engagement.
A co-conference championship this season would not be enough to trigger the option for a third year, but it would be part of any discussion regarding program performance.
A determination must be made by June 30.
If the option is exercised, the extension will take Batesole through a 20th season at Fresno State.
“Very excited,” Batesole said. “Nobody loves being a Bulldog more than I do. All four of my kids are Bulldogs. They all graduated from Fresno State. This is my 17th year, so there’s Bulldog blood running through my veins. This is where I want to be. This is the only place I want to be. It’s where I always want to be.”
Batesole has racked up 573 wins at Fresno State and in 2008 led the Bulldogs to a College World Series championship with a Cinderella run to Omaha.
They swept through the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, but still were just 33-27 going into the NCAA Tournament. The six teams Fresno State beat to win its first national baseball championship all were ranked, and it faced six elimination games along the way.
That World Series season came in the midst of winning seven consecutive conference championships from 2006 to ‘12.
Batesole has had 152 players earn academic all-conference honors and 77 players selected in the Major League Baseball draft with six in the first round including pitcher Matt Garza in 2005 (Minnesota, 25th overall), outfielder Aaron Judge in 2013 (Yankees, 32nd) and catcher Taylor Ward in 2015 (Angels, 26th).
The contract extension is worth $183,444 per year with up to $160,000 available annually through performance bonuses tied to academic performance (NCAA APR), conference achievement, participation in the NCAA Tournament and coach of the year honors.
Batesole this season is in the final year of a five-year deal that has a base salary of $162,156.