JUGS Sports | George Horton

Head Baseball Coach, University of Oregon

George Horton

George Horton
Article and Drill Archive


Now entering his fifth season at the helm of the Oregon baseball program, George Horton continues his effort to rebuild a competitive baseball legacy at the University of Oregon. Horton added to his two National Coach of the Year awards when he was named the 2012 Field Turf NCAA Division I Coach of the Year in Januray 2013.

During his four seasons with the Ducks, Horton has coached two All-Americans, 19 all-conference players, four collegiate national team players and 18 Major League Baseball draft picks.?

Horton has a 132-109-1 record in four years at Oregon. He was chosen as the man to resurrect the program in September of 2007, after Oregon baseball had been dormant since 1981. Two of Horton’s greatest accomplishments during his tenure are Oregon's run to the 2012 NCAA Super Regionals and its selection to the 2010 NCAA Tournament in the program’s second year back from reinstatement.

The 2012 baseball season was a magical one for Horton and the Ducks. Oregon finished 46-19 overall and went 19-11 in the Pac-12, good enough for third in the conference. After putting together a 42-17 regular season, the Ducks hosted the NCAA Regionals in Eugene, where they knocked off fourth-ranked Austin Peay twice and Cal State Fullerton to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals. In the Super Regionals, also played in Eugene, Oregon fell to Kent State and was one victory shy of advancing to the College World Series. Five Ducks were named to the Pac-12 All-Conference team and closer Jimmie Sherfy garnered second team All-American honors.

In 2011, the Ducks’ 33-26-1 record did not allow for an NCAA Tournament bid despite the club getting hot late and finishing with a 10-3-1 record in its last 14 games as well as posting series wins over tourney teams Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State. Despite the disappointment of missing the postseason, Oregon witnessed a record eight players drafted, including first-round selection Tyler Anderson. Anderson was Oregon’s first first-round draft pick and All-American since 1972.

Horton and his staff have also been masterful recruiters during their tenure. The Ducks have received four consecutive (2008-11) recruiting class top-25 rankings as well as back-to-back top-10 classes in 2010 and 2011.

Off the field, Horton’s team has garnered seven all-academic awards.

During the last three seasons, Oregon’s attendance has also ranked in the top 35 nationally.

Horton has built the Oregon program emphasizing, pitching, solid defense and timely hitting. UO’s pitching staff has posted an ERA that ranked in the nation’s top-20 in during the last two seasons, including the 2010 staff which ranked third in the country (3.29). In 2011, Oregon’s .975 fielding percentage ranked 17th in the nation while the club’s 60 turned double pays ranked 23rd.

Under Horton’s watch in 2010, Oregon improved its record from 14-42 (2009) to 40-24. The 22-game improvement was the second-best turnaround in the country since the NCAA began tracking the stat in 1998. Horton also recorded his eighth 40-win season, and made his 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, taking the Ducks to the Norwich Regional as the No. 3 seed and reaching final game against 10th-ranked Florida State.

Following the season, Oregon had four players taken in the 2010 MLB Draft, and a fifth sign a free agent contract. The Ducks were also ranked in four out of five final national polls.

In order to reach the postseason in just their second year since reinstatement, the Ducks made massive improvements following Horton’s lead; improving their batting average from .227 to .292, improving a 5.07 ERA to 3.29, more than doubling its run total from 158 to 376, and nearly doubling extra-base hits from 84 to 164.

The Ducks finished 2010 with a 9-6 record against ranked teams, a 3-3 record against the nation’s No. 1-ranked clubs, and won five Pac-10 series, finishing the year with a 13-14 league record that tied for fifth in the conference.

In 2009, the Ducks 14-42 record reflected a first-year program, but with top-rate facilities such as PK Park and the John E. Jaqua Academic Center, along with a highly-respected coaching staff, improvement for 2010 was apparent.

Oregon did have monumental wins in 2009 with a 5-3 season-opening victory at Saint Mary’s, and an electrifying 1-0 victory over defending 2008 College World Series champion Fresno State to christen to PK Park.

Enthusiasm around the program’s rebirth as Horton ran the show was lofty in 2009. A total of 57,704 fans came to PK Park as the Ducks had three official sellouts and averaged 2,404 fans per game.

In 14 seasons as a Division I head coach, Horton has coached 17 players that ascended to the major leagues, 22 All-Americans, two national players of the year, five conference players of the year, six conference pitchers of the year, 50 first team all-conference players, 13 players who were chosen for the collegiate national team, four first-round draft picks and 100 MLB Draft picks.

When then Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny announced the reinstatement of the University of Oregon’s baseball program in July 2007, the reaction among Duck supporters and baseball fans in the community was one of resounding excitement and anticipation. That level of emotion shot through the roof when Horton, a former College World Series championship skipper and two-time National Coach of the Year, was announced as Oregon’s new head coach on Sept. 1, 2007.

Horton, who spent 11 seasons at the helm of national power Cal State Fullerton and led the Titans to the 2004 National Championship, is the Ducks’ 12th baseball coach in school history and it’s first since the program was discontinued following the 1981 season.

“This is a tremendous day for the University of Oregon,” Kilkenny said upon Horton’s hiring. “Baseball coaches of George Horton’s distinction and ability don’t come along very often, and his decision to come to Eugene speaks volumes about our commitment for Oregon baseball to become successful on a national level.”

During his tenure with the Titans, Horton compiled an overall record of 490-212-1 (.698) and oversaw six appearances in the College World Series, including back-to-back berths in 2006 and 2007 as well as 2003 and 2004. He was named National Coach of the Year by Baseball America in 2003, and garnered the ABCA and Collegiate Baseball National awards following his squad’s title run in 2004.

Horton was also a five-time Big West Conference Coach of the Year, most recently earning the hardware in 2006 on the heels of his third 50-win season at the Division I level.

“To see what he has built and accomplished at Cal State Fullerton is incredible,” Kilkenny said. “Coach Horton has put together an elite program and posted an outstanding record on the playing field, but he also develops student-athletes as both players and people.”

Horton’s teams have reached a No. 1 ranking in national polls in part(s) of the 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 seasons. Entering the 2010 season, Horton’s .665 winning percentage ranked in the top 20 among active Division I coaches (minimum five years).

Horton, who is one of nine men to have appeared in Omaha as a player (1975) and a head coach, has seen 100 players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Draft, including 11 in 2003 and 14 in 2005. From 1997-2007, 10 of the MLB draft classes contained at least five of Horton’s players. In addition, 26 former Titans ascended to the Major Leagues during Horton’s 17 years at Cal State Fullerton.

2005 marked the year Horton molded the largest Major League draft class of his coaching tenure, as 14 players were selected in the first-year amateur draft. The 2005 draft class included No. 1 draft pick in Ricky Romero.

Horton added the most impressive credential to his resume in 2004, bringing home a national title. In his eighth year as a Division I head coach, Horton led CSF past the Texas Longhorns and his mentor Garrido, 3-2, in Omaha.