UC Irvine baseball coach Mike Gillespie confirmed in a statement Thursday, more than a month after it was originally reported, that former star shortstop Ben Orloff had been added to the coaching staff.
The statement did not address what role Orloff would assume on a staff that no longer includes Pat Shine, the former associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.
Orloff, the Big West Conference Player of the Year and winner of the Brooks Wallace Award that goes to the nation's top shortstop as a senior in 2009, retired 41 games into his fifth minor-league season in the Houston Astros' organization on June 7. He was playing for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks.
"Beyond simply the physical skills and abilities Ben demonstrated as a player, he has also exhibited uncommon instincts, awareness, and feel for the game," Gillespie said in the statement. "These traits, combined with a passionate love for the game, a determined work ethic and an extraordinary ability to teach and train receptive players, will define Ben as a great young coach with a no-limit future. UCI is lucky to have him back home."
Said Orloff, who like Gillespie was not made available for further comment on Thursday, "I'm excited to be back at UC Irvine. I played here and this place is home for me. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to work for and learn from coach Gillespie."
Orloff joins a staff that includes Bob Macaluso, who became a full-time assistant for the first time last season, former UCI All-American pitcher Daniel Bibona, who was a first-year volunteer assistant and pitching coach last season, and former Anteater Eric Deragisch, the director of operations.
Orloff is UCI's career leader in hits (281) runs (178) and games played (241).
— From staff reports