Fred Corral Returns To Tennessee As A New Assistant Baseball Coach

“This is an exciting addition,” 1st Year Head Coach Todd Raleigh said. “Fred Corral brings a wealth of experience at this level, and he’s one of the most respected pitching coaches in the country. His track record of developing pitchers is second to none. He knows the University of Tennessee, having coached here before, and he’ll add a lot to our staff.”

Corral voiced similar excitement about his return to Knoxville.

"Coming back to the University of Tennessee is very rewarding, not only for me, by for my entire family as well," Corral said. "I'm very thankful to Todd Raleigh and UT for giving me the opportunity to be a Vol again.

"I'd also like to thank the athletic department at the University of Oklahoma. My three years at OU were very rewarding, and I feel I'm returning to UT as a better coach."

During Corral's first stint at Tennessee, he directed the Volunteers pitching staff to the upper echelons of the pitching-rich Southeastern Conference as well as the nation. His staffs posted consecutive sub-3.90 ERAs while combining for a 2.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Tennessee's 3.16 walks allowed per nine innings in 2003 stands as the second-best mark in program history, and UT's 2004 team ERA (3.51) ranked among the top 15 in the country.

In 2003, Tennessee lowered its ERA to 3.88, an improvement of more than a run and a half from the previous year to rank 31st in the nation. The 2004 UT pitching staff continued to show improvement under Corral's direction. UT's 2004 ERA dropped to 3.51, which ranked 13th nationally and fifth in the SEC for the second consecutive year. The staff recorded the fifth-most strikeouts in school history and held opponents to a .243 batting average, which was UT's lowest mark in nine seasons. Tennessee also had three pitchers in 2004 whose ERAs ranked among the top 12 in the SEC.

Six of the pitchers Corral mentored at Tennessee went on to be selected in the MLB draft. He signed James Adkins and coached Luke Hochevar, hurlers who now rank first and third on UT's all-time strikeouts list, respectively, and are currently in the process of ascending toward the major leagues.

Corral also recruited and signed former Vols Chase Headley and Eric King, both of whom came to UT from the West Coast (like Hochevar), were drafted in 2005 and are currently starring in the minor-league ranks.

"Coach Corral is the ultimate pitching guy," Hochevar, a two-time first-round draft pick, said. "He takes pitching to the next level and pushes his guys to the best of their abilities. There is no one in the country as good as Chief. He hits every aspect of the game from mechanics to the mental approach and knows how to teach it better than anyone I have ever been around.

"He has a unique way of finding out how to motivate his guys and instills a winner-warrior mentality. I owe a ton to him and believe that, without his help, I would not be where I am today. He is family and has a huge heart. He's the best."

Family reasons were instrumental in Corral's decision to take the job as Oklahoma's pitching coach following the 2004 season. During his three years on the OU staff, Corral helped Oklahoma make two consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament, including the program's first Super Regional appearance in 2006. He also saw eight Sooner hurlers (including two-time draftee Daniel McCutchen) selected in the MLB draft, and six OU pitchers earned All-Big 12 honors during Corral's tenure.

The three Oklahoma pitchers drafted in 2007 brought Corral's total number of drafted pitchers to 36 in his 15-year coaching career.

In his first year at OU, Corral's staff posted an overall ERA of 4.77 (the lowest in OU's previous five seasons) over the Sooners' 61 games and did even better in conference play with a 4.04 ERA. The 4.04 mark was Oklahoma's second-lowest team ERA, in conference play, since 1984. And in 2007, the Sooners led all teams in the Big 12 with 466 total strikeouts.

By 2003, Corral had been well-groomed for an assistant coach position at the Division I level after serving six seasons under one of the most highly respected and successful junior college coaches in the nation, Jerry Weinstein, at Sacramento (Calif.) City College. From 1996-2002, Corral served as the pitching coach at SCC, where he was an integral part of the program's success. He served on a coaching staff that produced one national championship and five Bay Valley East Conference championships, including two state runner-up titles. His staffs compiled an overall record of 281-56-1 for an .833 winning percentage during his tenure.

In addition to his pitching duties, Corral also served as the program's recruiting coordinator and camp supervisor while playing an active role in fundraising.

Of the 21 drafted pitchers under his tutelage at SCC, 13 signed professional contracts worth nearly $4 million. Additionally, four of his drafted talents - Matt Riley, Adam Bernero, Mike Neu and Joe Horgan - advanced all the way to the Major Leagues. Sean Smith, a draft-and-follow prospect, signed a $1.2 million contract with the Cleveland Indians after being selected in the 16th round of the 2001 draft.

A return to his alma mater started Corral's collegiate coaching career in 1993. He spent two seasons as the pitching coach at San Joaquin Delta Junior College in Stockton, Calif., from 1993-95, before being hired to direct the pitchers at Sacramento City College.

While at those two stops, he developed 25 hurlers who were drafted. Every pitcher Corral coached at SCC was either drafted or transferred to a four-year institution.

Corral's coaching career also includes stints with several professional organizations as well as summer collegiate teams. He acquired coaching experience at the professional level while working with minor-league teams in the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers systems. His initial experience at the professional level occurred in 1999 when he was an instructor at spring and extended spring training for the Expos' Gulf Coast League team. In 2000, he served as the pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers Class-A short-season team in Yakima, Wash., which captured the Northwest League title that year. His affiliation with the Dodgers' organization continued in 2001, as he worked with the pitching staff of the Class-A Wilmington Waves in the South Atlantic League.

In 1994, Corral toured Switzerland with Major League Baseball International, instructing coaches on fundamentals, practice organization and game management.

On the collegiate summer league circuit, Corral served one season (1993) as the assistant coach for the Kenai Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League. He also directed the squad's outfielders while helping lead the team to the National Baseball Congress World Series championship.

A first-team All-Pac 10 Conference performer as a relief pitcher at the University of California, Corral helped lead the Golden Bears to their fourth College World Series appearance in his two seasons. He posted a flawless 10-0 record with five saves and a 3.75 ERA in his first season (1987) en route to all-conference honors. He became the school's eighth 10-game winner while setting a school record for single-season win-loss percentage. The left-hander finished his career with a 13-5 mark, 4.50 ERA and six saves.

Corral began his collegiate career at San Joaquin Delta Junior College where he garnered All-Camino Notre Conference honors in 1985 and 1986.

A 1984 graduate of Ripon High School in his native Ripon, Calif., Corral earned All-State honors after leading his team to the Northern California State Championship his senior year. An accomplished athlete, he also lettered three times in basketball and twice in football.

Off the field, Corral had an article published in Scholastic Coach's March 2002 issue titled, "A Balanced Approach to Pitching Mechanics." In addition to the published article, he also produced three video tapes, including "A Balanced Approach to Pitching Mechanics," "Common Faults and Corrections" and "Drills to Improve or Maintain the Delivery."

Corral is married to the former Cynthia Drost, of Ripon, Calif., and the couple has two children, Kaitlyn Joy and Justin Jerome. The couple's nieces, Marisa and Chelsea, and nephews, Michael and Robert, also live with them.

Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information

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