HOUSTON — Houston baseball coach Todd Whitting signed a five-year contract extension, which will run through the 2019 season, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades announced Friday afternoon.
“Todd has been instrumental in the tremendous strides made by our baseball program and has built a culture of excellence, both on and off the field,” Rhoades said. “The academic achievements of the baseball program have matched the athletic achievements and the experiences our student-athletes are receiving will undoubtedly prepare them to be champions for life.
In just four years, Whitting has been able to bring Houston baseball back into the national spotlight and as a program that can consistently compete on the highest level of college baseball.
It didn’t take long for Whitting to bring the Cougars back to national prominence as 2014 marked one of the best seasons in program history. Tying the program record for wins in a single season with 48 in 2014, the Cougars advanced to the NCAA postseason for the first time since 2008 and first under the direction of Whitting after receiving the automatic berth following the American Athletic Conference Championship tournament title win against College World Series participant Louisville.
“I am very appreciative of the commitment that President Renu Khator, VP for Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades, Baseball Sport Administrator Jeramiah Dickey and the entire administration have made to Houston Baseball,” Whitting said. “It has been a complete team effort over the past four seasons to rebuild our program into one of the elite college baseball teams in the nation.
“The vision of our department’s leadership, led by Mack [Rhoades], to build a solid foundation for all of our teams has been phenomenal. Our facilities and student-athlete support is second-to-none around the country.
“With the completion of TDECU Stadium, groundbreaking of the basketball development facility, the tremendous upgrades to Cougar Field and numerous other facility projects that have recently been completed or are in the works, The University of Houston is now aligned to compete with any program in the country.
“My staff and I are excited about the future and look forward to continuing to work towards our goal of playing in Omaha for a national championship.”
It took a rebuilding process from when Whitting took over the program to begin the 2011 season, but in just four years, Whitting has compiled a career record of 129-107-1 (.546) and has led the Cougars to back-to-back winning seasons in 2013 and 2014.
From the 2012 to 2013 seasons, Whitting led the Cougars from just 18 wins to 36 wins, respectively, marking the third-best turnaround in the nation.
In 2014, the Cougars were granted the No. 2 seed in the Baton Rouge Regional, where they went on to defeat LSU twice at Alex Box Stadium en route to a regional championship, the first since 2003, and a spot as one of the last 16 teams remaining in college baseball.
Whitting led the Cougars to a No. 11 final national ranking, with the highest ranking coming at No. 5 entering Super Regional play. It marked the second consecutive season the Cougars were ranked at some point during the year in the nation’s top 25.
Along with the postseason accomplishments, Whitting led the Cougars to a No. 1 non-conference RPI ranking in 2014 and a series sweep of Rice — the first since 1991. For his effort at the helm, he was tabbed the 2014 best coach in the city of Houston by Houston Press.
As head coach, Whitting has not only created a team turnaround, but has seen numerous individual accomplishments in those four seasons by coaching 13 all-conference honorees, three freshman All-Americans, six all-freshman team members, 48 all-tournament team honorees, four tournament most outstanding players, four all-region players, and two conference freshman of the year award winners and one conference newcomer of the year.
He has also seen 13 drafted at Houston during the last four MLB First-Year Player Drafts and coached Jake Lemoine to a spot on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team during the summer of 2014.
His incoming class of 2014-15 was ranked No. 33 in the top 40 recruiting classes by Collegiate Baseball, which features 18 newcomers for the 2015 season.
Whitting has been noted for his ability to bring quality student-athletes to the program and that mentality has paid off as his teams since 2011 have notched eight consecutive semesters of a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or better. He has coached more than 80 players to the conference’s honor roll and seen two players awarded nationally by CoSIDA on its academic-all-district teams.
To compete on the highest level, all facets of the program must be in tact and Whitting has allowed the success to extend away from games and into the revamping of Cougar Field, leading the charge in a complete renovation of the playing surface, which included the installation of FieldTurf last winter.
During his four-year span, he has been able to complete several major renovations to the stadium, clubhouse and playing surface, totaling over $2.2 million through his connections with former players and the relationships he has built through Houston’s Dugout Club and Coaches Committee.