Woodbridge High athletic officials will begin the process soon for replacing Tim Murray, who stepped down Tuesday, May 21, down after 10 seasons as head baseball coach at the school.
The position is an attractive one. Woodbridge plays its home games off campus at Ryan Lemmon Stadium, which is maintained by the city of Irvine. At most schools, coaches are responsible for field maintenance.
In addition, the Woodbridge program is coming off 23 and 20 win seasons under Murray, who decided he wanted to spend more time with his family after coaching high school baseball for 22 years.
There will be a number of talented players from this year’s Woodbridge team which finished second in the Pacific Coast League. Eleven players from this year’s squad are expected to return, including pitchers Scott Armstrong and Kyle Giberson and outfielders Jackson Lyon and Nick Nash.
“We would like to hire within the next 10 to 14 days,” Athletic Director Rick Gibson said Wednesday. “We would like a coach with some head coaching experience, but that is not a requirement.”
There is a possibility of a teaching position, Gibson said.
Among the assistant coaches who appear to be interested is Ryan Belanto, currently an assistant coach at University. Belanto was the junior varsity baseball coach at Woodbridge and led the team to a league title two years ago. Belanto, 30, is the son of Woodbridge girls basketball coach Pete Belanto.
Woodbridge named former assistant coaches from the school as head coaches in girls basketball and softball in recent years. Belanto, though he is at University, has ties to Woodbridge.
Former Woodbridge assistant coach Mark Wade, now the head coach at Roosevelt who is coming off a 20-win season and current Woodbridge assistant Eric Smith, who has been on the varsity the last three years, could also interested.
Current Tustin assistant coach Ben Owens may also show an interest. Owens is a Northwood High graduate who also coached at Northwood.