Bill Kinneberg, Utah Utes

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Bill Kinneberg is in his 14th season as head coach of the Utah Utes and his 22nd season overall as a head coach at the Division I level. The Utes began the 2017 season with a 20-21 record, including a 9-12 mark in the Pac-12 Conference. In 2016, the Utes won their first Pac-12 championship and Kinneberg was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. The Utes also earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2009 when Kinneberg guided Utah to the Mountain West Conference crown. That marked Utah’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament on the diamond since 1960.

Kinneberg got his start in college baseball in 1976 when he pitched for Central Arizona Junior College, which won the NJCAA national championship that year. In 1979, after transferring to the University of Arizona, he was a member of the Wildcat club that advanced to the College World Series in Omaha. He began his coaching career at the University of Texas-El Paso after graduating from Arizona and after serving as an assistant for four years, he served as the team’s head coach in 1985 before the program was eliminated.

Kinneberg took over the University of Wyoming baseball program in 1986 and guided the Cowboys through the 1992 season. Kinneberg was the 1990 Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. He later was an assistant at Arizona State and the associate head coach at Arizona before spending two years as a pitching coach in the Chicago White Sox organization. He also has been active in a variety of other coaching assignments with USA Baseball and was the pitching coach for the Italian Olympic team in 1984.

Several players have earned national honors under Kinneberg. C.J. Cron was a two-time first-team All-American in 2010 and 2011, a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, the two-time District Player of the Year and a two-time MWC Player of the Year. Ryan Khoury earned first-team All-America honors in 2006, and was also District Player of the Year and MWC Player of the Year.

Kinneberg has had seven players drafted in the first 10 rounds out of Utah, including the Utes’ first-ever first-round selection in 2011, when Cron was the 17th overall pick. Stephen Fife was a third-round pick in 2008 while Tyler Wagner was drafted in the fourth round in 2012. Cron has spent three years with the Los Angeles Angels (2014-16) while Wagner was promoted to the majors with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015 and earned his first major league win Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016. Fife pitched in 18 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2012-14.

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).