Screenshot 2023 06 16 At 5.58.57 Pm
Baseball Long Beach State

BREAKING: Eric Valenzuela Leaving Long Beach State Dirtbags

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Multiple sources in and around the Long Beach State Dirtbags baseball program have confirmed today that Eric Valenzuela is leaving his post as head coach. He took the job in 2019, and two years ago his contract was extended through the 2026 season.

Sources also confirmed that Valenzuela is returning to coach at St. Mary’s where he recorded four consecutive 30-win seasons in six years before taking the Dirtbags job.

Valenzuela didn’t immediately return calls for comment.

Despite not making the NCAA postseason in four years under Valenzuela, his pitching staff has been nationally ranked every year. This season, LBSU pitchers had the highest strikeouts per nine innings this season with 10. The Dirtbags went 33-22 overall and 17-13 in the Big West to finish seventh in the conference.

In June 2019, Valenzuela was named the eighth head coach of the Long Beach State baseball program. The Dirtbags started the 2020 season 10-5 and was ranked nationally when the COVID-19 shutdowns stole the campaign.

In 2021, the Dirtbags ended the season by winning 15 of their last 17 games while outscoring their opponents 119-42. However, a slow start to the season was hard to overcome after the pandemic shutdowns limited their preparedness.

Valenzuela signed a contract extension in July of 2021 that was supposed to keep him at the helm through the 2026 season.

Valenzuela ties coach Dick Clegg for the shortest head coaching tenure in Dirtbags history. Clegg coached four seasons from 1960-63.

We’ll have more on this story as it becomes available.

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JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.