TUCSON, Ariz. ?- Former Wildcat Jeff Casper has been hired as an assistant coach for the Arizona baseball program, head coach Andy Lopez announced today. His initial responsibilities with the program will be to work with the outfielders and hitters, as well as assist with recruiting and the Andy Lopez Baseball Academy.
“This is a great move for both Jeff and Arizona baseball,” Lopez said. “He has a true passion for the game, and anyone that has been around him understands that his work ethic, hustle and joy for coaching are off the charts. His ties to the local Tucson community, the area high schools and the university itself will really be a big plus.
“Having already worked with us, Jeff knows the program from the inside, what we expect on the field and what our goals are for both the players and staff. I’m really pleased that he’s chosen to come back to Arizona.”
A native Tucsonan and two-time graduate of the university, Casper was a four-year letterwinner as a catcher/infielder for the team from 1998-2001.
He returns to Arizona after a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Yavapai Junior College in Prescott, Ariz. Last season he helped guide the Roughriders to a 58-12 overall record and a second-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I World Series in Grand Junction, Colo. Previous to his stint at Yavapai, he was the volunteer assistant coach at UA for Lopez’s first three seasons in Tucson (2002-2004), helping to guide the Wildcats to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., in his final year.
Casper, who appeared in 59 games and batted .261 for his career at UA, received his undergraduate degree in business in the spring of 2001 and complete his Master’s degree in business and public administration from the Eller College of Business at UA in the spring of 2004.
As a player, he was honored with the Jim McConnell Award as the most inspirational player as voted by his teammates after his senior season in 2001. He was also named the inaugural recipient of the Kelsey Osburn Award, presented by the local professional scouts to the Arizona player that demonstrates the best hustle and work ethic on the field.
Born and raised in Tucson, Casper graduated from Salpointe High School where he was a four-year letterwinner and the 5A South Athlete of the Year his senior season.
With the addition of Casper to the coaching staff, Lopez will return to his role as pitching coach for the Wildcats, a position he has held for all four of his clubs that have advanced to the College World Series (1992 Pepperdine, 1996, 1998 Florida and 2004 Arizona).