PALATINE HILL -- Matt Kosderka, a long-time coach in the Portland area and Northwest Conference, has been selected to lead the Lewis & Clark Pioneers baseball program.
Lewis & Clark Director of Physical Education and Athletics Shana Levine announced on Thursday that Kosderka will assume leadership of the program beginning on July 5 as the 11th head coach in program history.
Kosderka joins the Pioneers after four seasons with the Willamette Bearcats, his alma mater, where he served as an assistant coach following 10 seasons as the head coach at Wilsonville High School.
"I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to be the next head coach of Lewis & Clark baseball," said Kosderka, who was a Northwest Conference Player of the Year and All-American while competing for Willamette in the 1990s. "Having coached in the conference for the past four seasons, I know the potential this program has to be successful."
In 2014, Kosderka joined the Bearcats, who were one year removed from a 14-win season. With Kosderka on the staff, Willamette has posted four straight 20-win seasons including a 28-14 mark last year. The team jumped from 11 NWC wins in 2016 to 18 in 2017, finishing second in the conference.
"We are confident Matt will bring a new level of success to our baseball program and enhance our mission of Building ChamPIOns," said Levine. "As a former NWC competitor, and more recently, a coach, Matt is committed to the NCAA Division III philosophy and understands how to help Lewis & Clark student-athletes excel."
Lewis & Clark's Building ChamPIOns program focuses on the development of student-athletes in the classroom, competition, character and community.
Kosderka fills the position that was left when Tom Flynn resigned. Flynn was the head coach for seven seasons.
While leading the Wilsonville program, which is located 15 miles south of Lewis & Clark's campus in Portland, Ore., Kosderka led the Wildcats to a 169-106 overall record, two league championships and a state runner-up finish in 2011. He was named Oregon School Activities Association Class 5A Coach of the Year that season.
"I am confident that we can create an overall experience that will help all of our student-athletes reach their full potential in all that they do," said Kosderka, who calls his program philosophy the Pioneer Way. "I certainly believe we can be successful on the field. The true measure of our program will come in the quality of partners, fathers and servant leaders that our players become in the future. I'm eager to get started."
Kosderka pitched for Willamette from 1995-98 and was selected NAIA First-Team All-America and NWC Player of the Year as a senior, after which he was drafted by the Texas Rangers. A Willamette Athletic Hall of Famer, he currently holds Willamette career records with 30 wins and 350 1/3 innings pitched, ranks second all-time at the school in career appearances, complete games, starts and strikeouts and has the single-season records for strikeouts and innings pitched.
Lewis & Clark's baseball program is a six-time conference champion, tied for the fourth-most of any team since 1981 in the nine-team conference. Prior to the 2016 season, alumni of the baseball program led the charge to establish the Jerry Gatto Endowment, which will directly support the travel, facility and operations needs of the baseball program at Lewis & Clark.
Of the 11 student-athletes who played in the most games last season, six position players were juniors or younger and are scheduled to be back next season. All six pitchers who made the most appearances in 2017 are expected to return as well.