CORVALLIS, OR (KPTV) - A former Oregon State University baseball player has been selected as the team's 21st head coach.
Beaver Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes announced on Thursday that Mitch Canham will be taking over the role after former head coach Pat Casey announced his retirement last year.
"What an incredible day and a dream come true," said Canham. "Since stepping on the OSU campus in the summer of 2002, I felt a part of the Beaver family. The baseball program, Corvallis community, athletic department, faculty, donors, and fans have been a huge part in transforming my life and helping me become the man I am today. I am eager to get back to Oregon State University and do OUR family of Beaver Nation proud. Coach Casey and everyone who has been involved over the years have created such a wonderful and life-changing program, and I look forward to not only continuing in this fine tradition, but helping the program grow even more. I want to thank Scott Barnes, the selection committee, and President Ray for this opportunity to lead the men of Oregon State's baseball program. I am also forever grateful to the Seattle Mariners and a great mentor in Andy McKay. He and the Mariners gave me the opportunity to learn while coaching their players."
Canham, 34, played college baseball for Oregon State University for Casey from 2004 to 2007. He was on both the 2006 and 2007 teams, which won back-to-back NCAA Baseball National Championships at the College World Series.
He was named an All-America catcher at OSU in 2007 after batting .326 with 10 home runs and 59 runs batted in.
"Coach Canham is a winner plain and simple," Casey said. "He represents the culture that so many OSU coaches and players have created. He was a tremendous leader as a student-athlete on and off the field, and I have no doubt that the future of Oregon State baseball is in great hands."
In 2007, Canham was drafted by the San Diego Padres with the 57th overall pick, and spent four seasons with the Padres' organization, reaching as high as Triple-A Portland. He also spent time with the Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals' organizations before ending his professional playing career with the independent Lincoln Saltdogs in 2015.
Canham then had a successful career as a manager in the Seattle Mariners' organization.
Recently, he served half a season as the manager of the Arkansas Travelers, the Mariners' Double-A affiliate in the Texas League. The club clinched a first-half division title on June 9.
"Mitch Canham is the type of person and coach who embodies what Oregon State University is about. His character and skill as a coach speaks volumes about why he has been so successful on and off the field in life, college and professional baseball," said Barnes. "Coach Canham has had an exceptionally quick upward trajectory as a baseball leader since his playing days concluded and he returns to OSU with an impressive resume. What stands out most is Coach Canham's commitment to excellence by being an exemplary leader, role model for young men, and his burning desire to continue the success of a program that he put so much energy into as a player. In addition, the outpouring of support from former OSU student-athletes and recommendations by high level baseball personnel in the college and professional ranks has been impressive. It reiterates what many of Beaver Nation already know as to the character of Coach Canham. Speaking for all of Beaver Nation, we are thrilled to bring Coach Canham home to Corvallis to lead our baseball program."
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