Harrison Happy at Pepperdine : Baseball: New coach has been associated with four teams that have won NCAA championships.
New Pepperdine baseball Coach Pat Harrison knows the way to Omaha and the College World Series.
Harrison, 48, also knows how to win at Omaha. He has been associated with four College World Series champions.
In 1968, Harrison was the starting second baseman for USC, which won the championship.
In 1973 and ’74, Harrison helped guide the Trojans to the championship as a member of the USC coaching staff under Rod Dedeaux. Last season, as an assistant under Oklahoma’s Larry Cochell, Harrison had a hand in a fourth national championship.
So when Pepperdine began its search to replace Andy Lopez, who resigned June 20 to become coach at Florida, the first person it turned to was Harrison.
“It’s great to have a business or a school show interest and pursue you,” Harrison said. “I think Pepperdine has a great baseball tradition, even better than some people realize, and I hope to continue that tradition.”
Harrison has hired former Dodger and Angel pitcher Geoff Zahn as pitching coach. Zahn was the athletic director at The Master’s College in Newhall, where Harrison was coach from 1987-90.
In 1972, Harrison was studying to become a Presbyterian minister at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena when Dedeaux invited him to be an assistant at USC. He has also coached at Washington State and Oral Roberts.
As a player, Harrison became USC’s first two-time All-American. During his senior season, he batted .278 and led the Trojans in runs batted in with 47 to help USC win the national championship. He was selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the secondary phase of the draft.
During his first day in major league training camp, Harrison tore his left hamstring. He quit as a player after 2 1/2 seasons in the minor leagues.
Harrison will be pressed to match Lopez’s record. In six seasons, Lopez guided the Waves to four NCAA playoff appearances and the 1992 national championship. His record was 241-107.
Pitcher Matt Wise, who will be a sophomore, looks forward to working with Zahn.
“I want to do whatever it takes to win,” Wise said. “I just want to get to Omaha.”
Harrison believes he can lead Pepperdine to another national title.
“I’ve been to the top of Division I with a variety of different players,” he said. “I know how to get there and how to win.”