Jeremy Beard

Jeremy Beard, interim head coach of Cal State Bakersfield's baseball team

Two months before the start of the 2017 season, Cal State Bakersfield fired baseball coach Bob Macaluso on Friday.

The Roadrunners went 19-37 in Macaluso’s only season as head coach. Pitching coach Jeremy Beard has been named interim head coach.

“My focus is 100 percent on doing what’s best for our student-athletes and the university,” athletic director Ziggy Siegfried said Friday night. “Everything I look at is always based on academic excellence, promoting a strong student experience, competitive success and engaging in the community.

“I feel very confident Jeremy will be very strong in all areas.”

Macaluso, who did not return a message left on his cell phone, came to CSUB in the fall of 2014 as an assistant coach for Bill Kernen. He was named head coach after Kernen retired at the end of the 2015 season.

Siegfried said Macaluso and the players were informed of the change during meetings Friday morning. Siegfried said there were no legal issues or any violations of NCAA rules or CSUB policies involved in the decision.

“Why the decision was made, from a timing standpoint: We evaluate all of our programs and coaches on a consistent basis,” Siegfried said. “As we ended our fall baseball season, it was a time to look at the things that we wanted to see the program doing to go in the right direction.

“What it came down to: I felt very confident that the best thing for the program was to change directions.”

Siegfried said CSUB will conduct a coaching search after the season ends.

“What we’ll look for is someone who puts the focus on those areas I mentioned,” Siegfried said.

The coaching staff also includes assistant Alex Hoover and volunteer assistant Justin Roberts.

“I’m really excited about building some cohesiveness and improving the student-athlete experience,” said Beard, 44, whose only prior head coaching experience was at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., from 1998-2001. “Serve them in a way to move forward and build on what we have now; have a positive experience and hopefully have a great season for 2016-17.”

Beard, a pitcher at Oregon State in the mid-1990s, was the pitching coach at Columbia Basin College (Wash.) for nine seasons, at Western Nevada College for two seasons and at the University of Portland for two seasons before coming to CSUB. He has 18 years of coaching experience.

“We know our players, and they’re a great group of players,” Beard said. “The most important thing is to motivate them and bring out their best. It’s not like we haven’t been coaching these players. I believe we can use the experience we have with them to work with each individual player and maximize their potential.”

CSUB opens its season Feb. 17 with the first game of a three-game series vs. Utah at Hardt Field.

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