Aug. 6, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz.- Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez filled his coaching staff today, naming Mark Wasikowski and former Wildcat Jeff Morris as assistant coaches. Combined, the new Arizona coaching staff has six national championships to their credit and eight College World Series appearances.
"I'm very excited to have two quality coaches to work with," Lopez said. "Mark and Jeff both bring excellent, national championship credentials to the coaching staff and will be an asset to our team. I've coached Mark at Pepperdine and have worked with him for the past three seasons and know him to be a dedicated coach and an excellent recruiter. Jeff is a former pitcher with experience on the national championship level both as a player and a coach, and is native Tucsonan. His local ties with both the university and the state are invaluable."
The starting third baseman for Pepperdine's 1992 national championship team, Wasikowski begins his third stint as an assistant on Coach Lopez's staff. Most recently he served the last three seasons at Florida with Lopez where his primary responsibilities included recruiting and working with the infielders. He entered the coaching ranks as a volunteer assistant under Lopez at Pepperdine in 1994 and has also coached at Southeast Missouri State as a graduate assistant. He won the National Baseball Congress national championship as the head coach of the El Dorado (Kan.) Broncos in 1998 and was named the named the National Baseball Congress Coach of the Year.
"I am thrilled to be a part of Wildcat baseball," Wasikowski said. "(Former Wildcat) J.T. Snow went to the same high school (Los Alamitos H.S.) as me, and back then Arizona was the place to go and play baseball. I got a chance to play at Arizona while at Pepperdine in 1993 and have nothing but great memories. I am very pleased to coming to Tucson with Coach Lopez and can't wait to get started."
A native of Seal Beach, Calif., Wasikowski played a pivotal role in Florida's recruiting success, including the Gators' second-ranked class of 2000 by Collegiate Baseball. A member of Pepperdine's Athletics Hall of Fame, he hit .312 with 10 home runs during his career with the Waves and was twice named first team All-West Coast Conference.
"I know the hard work and dedication Mark will bring to Arizona," said Lopez. "He has been successful in the past in recruiting Southern California. Having grown up and played there, he is very familiar with the area, the high schools and the talent. Our recruiting classes at Florida were among the best in the nation and I look forward to bringing the same to Arizona."
Morris, a pitcher on Arizona's 1979 College World Series and 1980 national championship teams, enters his second turn as a member of the Arizona coaching staff. He was a graduate assistant under Arizona Hall of Fame coach Jerry Kindall from 1985-87, where he helped guide the Cats to back-to-back College World Series appearances and the 1986 national championship. He won another national championship as a member of Yavapai Junior College's title team in 1977. Morris graduated from Catalina High School in Tucson where he was a four-year letter winner and an All-State pitcher.
"I'm very excited about coming back to Arizona," Morris said. "I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead. My memories of the Arizona baseball program are of hosting regionals and winning championships. It's the only school that I'd leave professional baseball for. I'm excited about the commitment that Coach Lopez has in the program."
Serving as an area scout in the southwest for the Baltimore Orioles for the past four years, Morris has scouted a number of local high school and college players for the Major League club. He will serve primarily as the pitching coach for the Wildcats, a position Coach Lopez has held in the past.
"I'm pleased to have Jeff as the pitching coach," said Lopez. "It will allow me to take on a more overall coaching role. He is one of the few people that can claim to have won a national championship as a player and as a coach at one school, and his local ties will give our coaching staff a firm base to recruit Tucson and the Southwest."