Chal Fanning, an assistant baseball coach at Cal Poly during Larry Lee’s first year at the helm of the Mustang program and a pitcher under Lee at Cuesta College, returned to his alma mater as the team’s pitching coach in August 2015.
Fanning, 47, replaces Thomas Eager, who resigned last month to become pitching coach at the University of California in Berkeley.
Last year, Fanning was pitching coach at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. The Governors were 25-26 overall in 2015, finishing seventh in the 11-team Ohio Valley Conference with a 15-15 mark.
“We’re excited to have Chal rejoin our staff at Cal Poly,” said Lee. “He brings a number of things to the table. He is a good teacher, has a good eye for talent, has a lot of experience at the D1 level, and is very familiar with our program.
“Chal has a track record of success with his pitching staffs over the years,” Lee added. “He is a great fit for Cal Poly baseball.”
Fanning, a 21-year coaching veteran, was an assistant coach at Cuesta College for three seasons (2012-14) and played baseball at Cuesta under Lee in 1989 and 1990.
In eight Division I seasons as an assistant coach — one at Cal Poly (2003), six at Missouri (1997-2002) and one at Austin Peay (2015), Fanning coached or recruited 49 student-athletes who eventually played at the professional level. Missouri was 194-146 during his tenure.
Fanning coached four all-conference selections and saw a pitcher named Western State Conference North Pitcher of the Year in consecutive seasons at Cuesta College. At Missouri, he coached or recruited 19 All-Big 12 selections, three All-America selections, six freshman All-America picks and four professional players, including Ian Kinsler.
At Cal Poly in 2003, Fanning served as the Mustangs’ recruiting coordinator and assisted in offensive and defensive development of student-athletes. Again his coaching and recruiting efforts paid dividends with 10 all-conference selections, two All-Americans, one conference player of the year and 16 future professionals among the players he coached or recruited. While with the Mustangs, he recruited Bud Norris, now with the Baltimore Orioles, and coached Garrett Olsen, who played parts of six seasons at the major league level with Baltimore, Seattle, Pittsburgh and the New York Mets.
Fanning also coached the San Luis Obispo Blues collegiate summer baseball league team during two stints (1994-96, 2006-14), compiling a 425-226 all-time mark over 12 seasons and winning a pair of California Collegiate League titles and two Coach of the Year citations. Major league players passing through his program include Brian Fuentes, Casey Fien, C.J. Cron and Kyle Hendriks.
As a player at Cuesta, Fanning helped the Cougars to their first conference title (1990) and was 7-7 with a 4.54 ERA in two seasons (1989-90). He led Cuesta in wins (4) and strikeouts (43) in 1990 and left with the program’s career marks for appearances and strikeouts.
Fanning went on to pitch under Steve McFarland at Cal Poly, playing on the Mustang team which placed third in the 1992 NCAA Division II World Series. He served as the closer of that team and collected four saves. In regional play that season, he picked up a save and started the final game, leading Cal Poly to a World Series berth.
Fanning was 6-4 in two Cal Poly seasons (1991-92) with five saves and a 2.95 ERA.
A 1987 graduate of Paso Robles High School, Fanning was 16-2 with two saves and a 1.89 ERA as a Bearcat, garnering All-Los Padres League and All-San Luis Obispo County honors as a pitcher. He also earned All-CIF-Southern Section honorable mention praise.
Fanning, a 1996 Cal Poly graduate with a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture, stepped out of coaching after the 2003 season at Cal Poly and, with his wife of 12 years, Michele, opened a retail business in San Luis Obispo. Michelle also has owned an interior design company in San Luis Obispo since 1991.
Fanning also earned a master’s degree in coaching and athletic administration (exercise science) at Concordia University of Irvine in 2014.