New coach selected to lead Waves on the diamond

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Tyler LaTorre is the new Pepperdine Waves baseball head coach, after two years as head coach for NCAA Division II Westmont College. Photo from Pepperdine Newsroom.

Tyler LaTorre coming from Westmont College to become the 18th head coach in Pepperdine’s baseball history

The Pepperdine Waves baseball team has a new skipper. 

Former professional baseball player Tyler LaTorre was announced as the Waves new head coach on June 14. 

LaTorre, a pro catcher for 10 years before going into coaching, said he is excited to be Pepperdine’s coach. 

“To all our players, past and present, you will see an unrelenting passion and energy from me for Waves baseball,” he said in a statement. “I will bring a tireless work ethic and an endless care for your university.”

Pepperdine Director of Athletics Tanner Gardner said LaTorre is a strong man of faith and a proven winner. 

“We look forward to Tyler leading this storied program to national prominence,” he said. 

LaTorre is the 18th head coach in Waves baseball history. He replaced Rick Hirtensteiner, who was relieved of coaching duties seven days after Pepperdine’s 15-38 season concluded in the first round of the WCC Tournament. 

Hirtensteiner was the Waves’ head coach for nine years and member of the coaching staff for 28 years. He also played college baseball for the Waves and was an All-American and West Coast Conference Player of the Year. 

LaTorre stepped down from being the head coach of Westmont College’s baseball team in order to step into the batter’sbox for Pepperdine.

LaTorre took over coaching duties at Westmont two summers ago. He guided the squad to a program-record 48 victories, a Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) regular season title, the GSAC tournament championship and the NAIA national championship. LaTorre was named the 2023 NAIA Coach of the Year. 

LaTorre coached Westmont to a 33-15-3 record in 2024, the program’s first season in NCAA Division II, and was named the PacWest Coach of the Year. 

He was the recruiting coordinator at Sacramento State and San Jose State before coaching at Westmont. LaTorre was the 2018 San Jose Assistant Coach of the Year and the 2019 Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach of the Year. For two years previously, he was the associate head coach at San Francisco State.

LaTorre helped a handful of players get picked in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 MLB Drafts. 

LaTorre played in the San Francisco Giants organization from 2006-19. He was a catcher for the Italian National Baseball Team, competing in the 2012 European Championship and the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Before that, LaTorre was team captain at UC Davis. He helped the team qualify for the 2003 Division II World Series and was a first team All California Collegiate Athletic Association section the next year. LaTorre was an All-Independent League selection in 2006. 

Pepperdine President Jim Gash said LaTorre has shown the highest levels of leadership in player development and preparedness in college and professional baseball. 

“His extensive coaching experience throughout his career has exemplified the visionary leadership, strategic thinking, adaptability, and emotional intelligence required to navigate the world of college athletics,” Gash said. “I look forward to a new era of Pepperdine baseball under Coach LaTorre’s leadership.”

LaTorre thanked Pepperdine’s leadership for tapping him for the head coaching position and said the Waves baseball program will give its players a platform to glorify God and achieve excellence on and off the diamond. 

“Through shared triumphs and adversity our players will build a belief that is bigger than baseball,” he said.“Pepperdine baseball will continually thrive on the field, in the classroom and in our community by building strong servant leaders that put others before themselves.”