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Leadership is Everything – College Coaches Grown Here

Monday, March 11, Corvallis, Ore. – The Knights are proud to not only be a development platform for ballplayers and aspiring sports business students, but for coaches, too. The club has a rich history of offering practical coaching experiences, developing young coaches and launching collegiate coaching careers.

Three rising head coaches got their first taste of college coaching with the Knights – Andrew Checketts of UC Santa Barbara, Geoff Loomis of University of Portland and Matt Kosderka of Lewis & Clark College. A fourth rising head coach, Eddie Cornejo of Cal State Northridge, played under Loomis and with Kosderka for the Aloha Knights in 2001; Eddie was placed with the Knights by Checketts, an assistant coach then at Riverside Community College.

After a fleeting professional pitching career, Checketts took the summer of 2000 to put his two passions to practice – baseball and finance.

A graduate of Oregon State University, Checketts worked with Knights Baseball Club president Dan Segel to secure an internship at Nike, Inc. and land the Knights’ new pitching coach position under rookie skipper Geoff Loomis.

Kosderka would follow in Checketts’ footsteps as a player/coach, acting as the Knights’ pitching coach in 2002.

Coach Loomis played for the Knights (1996-1998) following a short pro career in the A’s organization. After much deliberation, he decided to give coaching a shot.

His first managing gig came with the Knights in 2000 after Segel convinced Geoff to go all in and named him head coach.

An alum of University of Portland, Loomis ended up managing the Knights from 2000-2004; winning the NBC World Series in 2004.

His Knights experience led to a head coaching position at Pacific Lutheran University in 2003, which led to being named Portland’s new head coach in June of 2015.

Checketts excelled in both roles, making his decision even more difficult. As you’ve read, he picked baseball over a sweet offer from the finance department at Nike and went to work at Riverside CC under the tutelage of legendary coach Dennis Rogers.

That move in itself paved the way for a special long-term relationship between the Knights and Dennis, which has proved fruitful for so many in so many ways.

The Knights’ family tree arguably was rooted in Checketts decision to follow his heart and head to Southern California to be trained by the very best – Dennis Rogers.

Loomis’ return to Portland was a dream come true, a vision born in 2000. His leadership and competitiveness took both the Knights and PLU to new heights, and now his highly competitive Pilots.

They say leadership is everything, and we couldn’t agree more. Checketts, Loomis, Kosderka and Cornejo have proved just that at every stop. Checketts’ Gauchos reached the College World Series in 2016, Loomis’ Pilots appeared in the 2023 WCC championship game, Kosderka’s Pioneers captured the 2023 Northwest Conference crown and Cornejo won over 35 games in his first year as head coach at CSUN last spring (tying for first place in the Big West).

Cornejo recently visited Corvallis with his Matadors, as CSUN played Oregon State tough over 4 games, March 7-10. The #4-ranked Beavers swept the home series, as alumnus OSU pitching coach Rich Dorman’s (1999) bullpen saved the last three games with clutch performances by pitchers Bridger Holmes and Matthew Morrell. Cornejo’s staff includes former Knights’ assistant Youngjin Yoon (2016-2023) and alum pitcher Elliot Surrey (2013), CSUN’s pitching coach.

Geoff Loomis’s Pilots have started strong in 2024, opening the season 8-5 with all 13 games on the road. Geoff’s pitching coach is former Knights’ pitching Connor Lambert (2011-2017).

This past weekend, Checketts’ Gauchos swept UConn to improve to 9-5 on the young season. Andrew’s coaching staff includes Knights’ 2010 MVP Dylan Jones, an assistant and UCSB’s recruiting coordinator.

This past Saturday, coach Kosderka’s Pioneers won an exciting extra-inning affair, 9-8, over UMass Boston at Jerry Gatto Field.

The Knights are proud to call all four friends and are grateful for their support.

We wish all our alumni coaches a great spring season. Leadership is everything!

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