Head Coach SOMMER McCARTNEY
Coach Sommer McCartney was hired as the Gauchos' head coach at the end of the 2011 season, replacing long-time coach, friend and mentor, Jack Hodges, who retired after teaching and coaching at Saddleback for 22 years. McCartney spent 10 years as an assistant coach under Hodges at Saddleback, including six years as a full-time instructor. McCartney continues to teach Health and Kinesiology classes at Saddleback.
McCartney started coaching at Saddleback in 1998, the year the Gauchos fell one game short of a State Championship and had to settle for state runner-up honors. In his 10 years as an assistant coach at Saddleback, he has helped the program win 239 games. From 2001 through 2005 he left Saddleback to become the head coach at Aliso Niguel High School where he won back-to-back Sea View League championships. In 2005 he was hired as a full-time instructor and baseball coach at Saddleback but remained active in coaching youth players, serving as a coach with the US Junior National teams in 2007 and 2008.
Coach McCartney has also helped several Gauchos continue their education and career at the next level. Saddleback has placed an averaged of 12 players a year at four-year universities. He has also had a hand in helping coach former Saddleback and current MLB players Nick Punto (SS - St. Louis Cardinals), Rob Johnson (C - San Diego Padres), and Kanekoa Texeira (P - NY Yankees).
Coach McCartney is originally from San Jose where he played football, soccer and baseball at Willow Glen High School, graduating in 1990. He played baseball for two seasons at San Jose City College under coach Barry Woodhead and then transferred to UC Riverside and played baseball for two seasons under coach Jack Smitheran. In 1994, his UCR team went to the NCAA Division II College World Series in Montgomery, Alabama. McCartney was drafted and signed with the Florida Marlins as a catcher in 1994 and played until 1997.
Coach McCartney earned his Bachelors degree from UC Riverside and his Masters degree from Azusa Pacific University. He also attained his Master Fitness Instructor certificate from the Cooper Institute of Aerobics in 2006.
Sommer and his wife, Kris, have two daughters - Annika and Briana - and make their home in San Clemente.
Assistant Coach GEOFF FOX
Heading into his sixth season at Saddleback in 2012, Coach Geoff Fox works with the infielders and hitters. Before coming to Saddleback he coached one year at Palm Desert High School in the greater Palm Springs area, where he was an assistant and helped guide the Aztecs to their 4th straight DVL conference championship.
Coach Fox was raised in the Seattle and Phoenix areas. Graduate of Mesquite High School (Phoenix), Coach Fox led the conference in batting average, home runs, and RBI's as a senior. He played baseball at South Mountain Community College where he was named Freshman Player of the Year in the ACCAC (Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) and set a school record with a 33-game hitting streak. He would later transfer to Colorado Mesa University after his sophomore year, where he was a part of back-to-back NCAA Division II Super Regional appearances for the Mavericks.
Coach Fox earned his bachelor’s in Mass Communications from Colorado Mesa University and would later earn his master's in Health and Human Performance from Fort Hays State University. He also teaches Kinesiology classes at Saddleback as well as works as a personal trainer. Geoff lives in Aliso Viejo with his wife, Val, and their two-year-old son, Gavin.
Assistant Coach LARRY HOLT
Coach Holt joined the staff at Saddleback in 2009 and works with the outfielders and hitters. He is in his 18th year of coaching. He spent five years at Santa Margarita Catholic High School where his teams produced five consecutive winning seasons and two league championships.
Larry played baseball at Oklahoma State University and later for the Oklahoma City Industrials. He is retired from 32 years as an executive from AT&T and Lucent Technologies. He and his wife, Diane, live in Mission Viejo.
Assistant Coach CHRIS MALEC
Coach Malec was raised in South Orange County and has returned to join the staff at Saddleback College. Chris attended Santa Margarita High School, playing under Tip Lefebvre. Chris attended UC Santa Barbara following SMCHS, competing for the Gauchos for 4 years under head coach Bob Brontsema. At UCSB, Chris, a 4 year starter for the Gauchos garnered many accolades, including being named a Louisville Slugger Freshmen All American, in addition to being named All Big West Selection three times. Chris played summer collegiate ball for two seasons in the prestigious Cape Cod League for the Yarmouth Dennis Red Sox, where he was selected as a 2003 All Star as well as a Summer All American by Baseball America. Chris also competed for the Santa Barbara Foresters, who reached the finals of the NBC World Series. After college, Chris was selected by the New York Yankees in the MLB draft. He signed and played 6 seasons as an infielder in the Yankees farm system reaching as high as class AAA. He had the opportunity to be a part of 3 Minor League Championship teams, including two in AA Trenton of the Eastern League.
Chris earned a Bachelor of Science from UC Santa Barbara in Law and Society with a minor in Sport Management. During his Professional playing career, Chris completed his Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University in 2011.
Chris is in his first season as an Assistant Coach at Saddleback College. His responsibilities include working with hitters and infielders. He also coaches third base and assists with recruiting. Prior to coaching at Saddleback, Chris worked as a private baseball instructor, as well as assisting with the varsity winter program at Mission Viejo High School. He is also currently serving as the director of camps and clinics for Lifeletics Athletic Instruction.
Chris resides in Dana Point with his wife, Caitlin.
Assistant Coach JORGE ARAIZA
Entering his first season as an assistant coach at Saddleback College in 2013, Jorge Araiza will be assisting with hitters, infielders, and outfielders. Before coming to Saddleback, Coach Araiza served as lead assistant, coaching infielders, hitters, and pitchers at Vanguard University from 2010 to 2012. While there, he helped lead the Lions to one of the most successful baseball seasons in Vanguard school history with a record of 34-20 in 2010, and the university’s first winning season since 2002.
Coach Araiza grew up in Southern California and graduated from Temecula Valley High School in 2002. He then moved to Mission Viejo where he enrolled at Saddleback College. While at Saddleback, Araiza earned All Orange Empire Conference honors in 2003 and 2004. Araiza helped the Gauchos reach the State Championships during both years, earning a Championship Ring in 2004 as the team’s second baseman. Araiza saw success at the NCAA level as he attended CSU Chico where the Wildcats reached back to back DII College World Series appearances in 2005 and 2006. He went on to graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Chico.
After finishing up his collegiate career, Coach Araiza became a player/coach for the Ecuadorian National Team playing in the South American Championships in Brazil, Argentina, and Ecuador, as well as the Pan-American Olympic Qualifying Games in Cuba. Coach Araiza also found a successful professional career in the United States, playing for the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League and the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League. He was a main contributor on both teams’ run for League Championships, reaching the final games while with each team. Between seasons, Jorge also expanded his career to Mexico, playing for the Minatitlan Gavilanes of the Vera Cruzan Mexican Winter League in 2007.
Coach Araiza is currently working on his thesis under the Master’s Program of Science in Physical Education at Azusa Pacific University. He is scheduled to graduate with his Master’s Degree in Physical Education this December. He works as instructional aide at Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate and is a personal trainer at Orange County Extreme Baseball Training Academy in Rancho Santa Margarita. Jorge lives in Lake Forest with his wife Leia and their dog Lilly.