Long Beach State Athletics Director Andy Fee announced Monday that Dirtbags head coach Troy Buckley signed a contract extension through the 2022 season. The extension includes four additional years, increased base salary and supplemental compensation based on success on and off the field.
“I am very grateful and appreciative of this opportunity to continue to lead this historic program going forward,” Buckley said. “Success on and off the field is a culmination of a lot of individuals’ and groups’ efforts. This truly has been, and will continue to be, a cumulative effort to sustain excellence on and off the field.”
LBSU has steadily improved during Buckley’s seven years at the helm. The Dirtbags were only five games above .500 in his first three years, but an adjustment in recruiting and scheduling since then and has led LBSU back to the postseason three of the last four years. The Dirtbags are 75-39-1 over the last two seasons.
One of Buckley’s adjustments was offering scholarships to younger players. Buckley said Monday that the extension matters a lot when it comes to recruiting because national powerhouses are also getting younger players to verbally commit every season.
“Over the summer, we had high school kids asking what the time line was because it’s all about relationships,” Buckley said. “From a stability standpoint, it’s huge.”
The Dirtbags won the Big West Conference this year for the first time since 2008, hosted an NCAA Super Regional for the first time since 2004, and finished one win away from reaching the College World Series but fell to rival Cal State Fullerton. The Big West rewarded the Dirtbags with a school-record 12 year-end awards, including Buckley being named the BWC Coach of the Year. LBSU finished the season as a consensus Top 10 team in the nation for the first time since 1998.
The program’s success also has led to professional success as eight Dirtbags were selected in the 2017 MLB Draft. During Buckley’s tenure, 31 Dirtbags signed MLB contracts, with eight players drafted within the first 10 rounds.
Despite a humbling start to the season, 14th-year coach Mauricio Ingrassia took positives away from opening weekend as LBSU (0-1-1) finishes its homestead tonight at 7 at George Allen Field against No. 16 Northwestern before visiting San Diego State on Sunday.
“We’re still trying to find our identity as a team, and I think after those games we’re a lot closer to finding our best 11,” Ingrassia said.
Ingrassia and the 49ers will have to do that without senior captain Ashley Gonzales. The forward injured her knee during the 5-1 loss to No. 6 UCLA last weekend. Ingrassia said she’s out indefinitely until a MRI reveals the extend of the injury.
“We will reinvent ourselves a bit offensively,” Ingrassia said.
Northwestern (2-0-0) shut out DePaul 1-0 and Illinois State 3-0 last weekend. Redondo Beach native and Northwestern freshman Madi Kennel scored twice against Illinois State. This is the first time the schools have played each other.
The game at SDSU is at 7 p.m., the first road match for the 49ers and a great opportunity to see where they are in terms of future competition. SDSU (1-1) lost to No. 6 UCLA by the same score and defeated Big West member UC Davis 1-0 last weekend. Cal State Fullerton beat SDSU 1-0 in an exhibition earlier this month. SDSU leads the all-time series with LBSU 5-3-2, but the 49ers won the last meeting 3-0 in 2016.
LBSU lost its No. 24 national preseason ranking on TopDrawerSoccer.com after opening weekend, but is still receiving votes.
LBSU starts the season with three home matches in the Walter Pyramid as part of the LBSU Baden Challenge. New coach Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer and the 49ers open their season at noon Friday against reigning NCAA national champion Stanford, the face Wright State and Iowa on Saturday. Both games are at 7 p.m.
The No. 2-ranked Cardinal return five of six starters, including a trio of talented sophomores in outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, setter Jenna Gray and libero Morgan Hentz. Stanford leads the all-time series with LBSU 15-4-1, and the last time the 49ers beat the Cardinal was in 2001.
Last week, LBSU announced it has entered into a radio deal with KLAA AM830 to broadcast 13 men’s basketball games live during the upcoming season.
The student-organized KBEACH/22 West Media will continue to provide play-by-play and color commentary.
The home game Dec. 3 against Stanford will be the first of three games carried in December. Seven of 13 Big West Conference games will be broadcast. KBEACH/22 West Media is also available online through www.longbeachstate.com as well as KBEACH.org and via HD Radio at 88.1-3.