Allan Hancock College Head Coach Chris Stevens has received the highest honor from his peers from across the state. Stevens was selected the 2018 Victory Coach of the Year by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association (CCCBCA). The annual award honors members of the CCCBCA who show exemplary participation, dedication and contributions to the sport. They also exhibit leadership and values to serve as a role model for student-athletes.
"Anytime your peers select you for an award, it's very humbling," said Stevens. "It's a little embarrassing because there are so many deserving recipients. Nonetheless, I am completely honored and extremely grateful."
After 17 seasons as head coach of the Hancock baseball team, Stevens has 320 career wins with the Bulldogs. He ranks No. 2 in program history in career wins, behind CCCBCA Hall of Fame inductee John Osborne. He was named the Western State Conference's Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2009.
"Chris Stevens embodies what all coaches should strive for," said Kim Ensing, associate dean and athletic director at Hancock. "He is a great coach. But more importantly, he is a mentor, a leader in our department and a leader in the state. He is a testament to all the great things that come from coaching student-athletes at this level."
When asked what keeps him coming back year after year, Stevens said it goes beyond his love for the game and competing.
"I love teaching and coaching. I see so much growth in our players in a very short two years," said Stevens. "In addition, working every day with quality assistant coaches and the opportunity to develop players make my position so enjoyable and rewarding."
Perhaps Stevens' greatest coaching accomplishment has been his ability to motivate and place sophomores at four-year universities. In the past eight years, his sophomore classes have produced a remarkable 97 percent graduation and/or transfer rate. His second-year players had 100 percent success rate in 2011, 2014 and 2018. Stevens has also sent more than 100 players to baseball programs at four-year universities or straight to the professional ranks.
"Accomplishments come from a cast of support. Players have bought into our program's philosophies and desire to achieve greatness in the classroom and on the field," said Stevens. "Assistant coaches are the unsung heroes and the backbone of the program. They work countless hours on and off the field for our student-athletes. Lastly, our athletic department and college administration are so supportive."
Stevens has been active at the state level, serving as the Western State Conference North Division representative to the CCCBCA's Executive Committee since 2003. He was instrumental in developing the state's current playoff format, seeding criteria, selection of Rawlings as the official ball and many other legislative accomplishments.
A former Allan Hancock College baseball player, Stevens played under Osborne for the Bulldogs in 1985 and 1986. He earned All-Western State Conference honors and was rewarded with a baseball scholarship to Azusa Pacific University. Over his two-year career at APU, Stevens earned All-Conference and All-NAIA West Region honors.
Prior to Hancock, Stevens was the head coach at Western Christian High School in Covina, Oxnard College and Righetti High School. At Righetti, Stevens also served as athletic director and guided the Warriors' baseball team to a record of 95-41. He was twice recognized as the league's Coach of the Year.