Pegg to guide Lions

Vanguard University dipped into its past to hire Rob Pegg as its baseball coach Friday.

Pegg was the MVP of the 1997 Vanguard squad (then Southern California College) and spent seven seasons as an assistant coach and five years as an admissions counselor at the school.

Pegg, who spent the last seven seasons as head coach at Colorado Christian University, an NCAA Division II school in Lakewood, Colorado, replaces Ralph Grajeda, who resigned after four seasons in May.

"It's a dream coming back to my alma mater," said Pegg, who was a first-team All-Golden State Athletic Conference catcher and the school's Male Athlete of the Year as a senior in 1997. "I have so many great memories there. The baseball tradition there is high. There have been some big-leaguers come out of there and some minor-league guys.

The Colorado Christian tradition is somewhat less distinctive. The Cougars, for whom Pegg began the program in 2006, posted a 92-274 record as it struggled to find funding.

Still, Pegg guided Colorado Christian to three National Christian College Athletic Assn. Central Region championships. The Cougars finished third at the 2009 NCCAA World Series and were fifth at the same event in 2010.

Pegg's best record at Colorado Christian was 20-37 in 2009. His teams lost at least 40 games in his other six seasons and were 43-214 under Pegg in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

He coached one year at a high school in Sacramento after leaving Vanguard, where he was on then-coach Kevin Kasper's staff from 1998 through 2004.

"I started the [Colorado Christian] program from scratch and I enjoyed the challenge of that," Pegg said. "It was an uphill battle, given the resources, but I understood the mission."

Pegg's mission at Vanguard will be to be competitive in the rugged GSAC, considered by many to be the toughest conference in the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Vanguard was 98-95 under Grajeda, but 45-47 the last two seasons, including 29-39 in conference play in 2012 and 2011.

The Lions were 34-20, 22-14 in conference, under Grajeda in 2010, when they earned an at-large berth in the NAIA Opening-Round Tournament.

"The landscape has changed a little with some teams moving to NCAA Division II [Azusa Pacific, Fresno Pacific and Point Loma Nazarene all leave the conference for the fall of 2012 and Cal Baptist made the same move following the 2010-11 athletic year]," Pegg said. "I have a lot of respect for the teams and the great coaches. Vanguard had a decently competitive team [in 2012], but we want to improve upon that."

Pegg was a two-year starter at Vanguard. After graduating, he played one season professionally for the Canton Crocodiles of the independent Frontier League.

Pegg, reached by phone in Colorado on Friday, said his official start date is July 1, but he has already begun talking with the Lions' returning players. He said connecting with players on the current roster is his top priority, then formulating a coaching staff. Recruiting is also an immediate focus.

Pegg, a native of Ontario, Canada, is married to the former Angie Minor, who was a GSAC Player of the Year in women's basketball for Vanguard in the late 1990s. The couple has four children, Daniel (9), Mia (7), Trent (4) and Landon (2).

Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5

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